Care Conversation: Medical Malpractice Insurance

Care Conversation: Medical Malpractice Insurance

It’s Time to Reset the Medical Malpractice Insurance Discussion

We spoke with more than 800 doctors, practice managers, and group administrators across the country last year.  The message was clear: In addition to requiring strong professional liability protection, practices of all sizes also need their insurer to be a proactive partner to help them navigate the challenges ahead.


It is time for our industry to reset the conversation around medical malpractice insurance.  We believe we should serve the medical profession by partnering with those who provide care— so that doctors can focus on making decisions based on the best outcomes for patients, rather than on threats of litigation, invasive regulation, or financial loss.

The industry needs to focus on the positive aspects of what we do for physicians by taking the “mal” out of malpractice.  We will do this by collaborating with practices and systems to reduce the likelihood of lawsuits, by defending doctors inside and outside the courtroom, and by helping them navigate today’s healthcare landscape.



We should offer tools and services that provide guidance.  For example, we have created an extensive library of articles and resources openly available to all healthcare providers to help them understand and comply with electronic health record (EHR) requirements, become familiar with the risks of telemedicine, and stay informed about drug safety laws.

Today’s medical malpractice insurance buyers also expect a comprehensive array of tools to help them stay current with emerging best practices in patient care.  For example, we analyze data captured from our claims experience with more than 78,000 members and translate it into actionable reports that are shared free of charge with all healthcare providers.  These studies are designed to promote patient safety and minimize liability exposure.



Another reason to reframe the conversation about medical malpractice is that the term “malpractice” is a misnomer.  Over 80 percent of our claims are closed with no indemnity payment.  It’s time to stop focusing on the inaccurate term “malpractice” and instead emphasize the positive measures insurers take to help doctors, practices, and systems reduce claims.  The industry can join in this effort by sharing data and by engaging in collaborative patient safety and risk management programs.

Changing the way we talk about malpractice insurance is the first step in demonstrating our understanding of the contemporary experience of medical practice and becoming a proactive partner that meets rapidly evolving needs.



by Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP

About the author: Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, is chairman and chief executive officer of The Doctors Company (, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. He also chairs the board of directors of PIAA, the leading international association representing the medical and healthcare professional liability insurance community.



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