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North Carolina Medical Malpractice Insurance

In general medical malpractice insurance premiums have remained stable for North Carolina doctors and surgeons in recent years.

The entry of a major new liability carrier into the North Carolina market in 2008 means there is now more competition and more choices for doctors in the Tar Heel State. Submit your quick and easy malpractice insurance quote request today and see if there is a better rate available. It could end up saving you important money on your med mal insurance.
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Benefits to North Carolina Doctors

  • "A" Rated Carriers. Compare rates to get the best coverage at the most affordable price.
  • Prior Acts Coverage is included. No need to purchase separate tail coverage.
  • New to Practice Discounts. Claims Free Discounts.
  • Switch Anytime - you do not need to wait until your renewal date.
  • Top-Rated Advice and assistance for doctors with claims. Don't let prior claims or frivolous lawsuits prevent you from practicing medicine in North Carolina.
  • As the medical field continually evolves many physicians now have unique or very specific liability coverage requirements. Let a licensed insurance professional experienced in the North Carolina market work with you to tailor a liability policy to your individual needs.
  • Top-Rated advice for new to practice doctors or doctors relocating to North Carolina.
  • A free quote could save you important money today.

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Medical Malpractice Insurance Background in North Carolina

North Carolina Voluntary Arbitration of Negligent Health Care Claims Act

When House Bill 1671, the North Carolina Voluntary Arbitration of Negligent Health Care Claims Act, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, it was the first substantive tort reform enacted by the Tarheel State in more than 20 years and marked one of the few times the state’s medical and legal professions had reached a consensus on medical liability reform.

The tort reform bill passed both of North Carolina’s legislative houses by a near-unanimous vote in late 2007. The most notable aspect of HB 1671 was that it limits monetary damages in medical malpractice cases to $1 million for those who agree to go to binding arbitration. Physicians favored the bill because it addressed their concerns that the cost of resolving medical malpractice claims needs to be controlled to bring down liability insurance premiums, and it addressed their goals of limiting the size of judgments and shortening the time frame for resolution. Attorneys endorsed the bill because it gave plaintiffs access to a resolution even if they did not have the financial resources to pursue litigation, and HB 1671 clearly defines the arbitration process.

The march toward the passing of HB 1671 began years earlier as medical liability premiums were spiking across North Carolina as well as nationwide. Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina, the state’s largest medmal insurer, reported that from 1995-2003 the base premium rate increased tremendously, as follows:

  • For general surgeons: a 127-percent increase to $40,000 per year in basic liability premiums;
  • For OB/Gyns: a 137-percent increase to $100,000 per year;
  • For family practitioners with no obstetric practice: a 115-percent increase to $9,000 per year;
  • For emergency room physicians: a 153-percent increase to $24,000 per year

The North Carolina premium increases were not unique—as the entire nation had been experiencing similarly inflating rates—neither were the state’s physicians being sued at a greater frequency than their counterparts in other states. Mimicking nationwide trends, 55 percent of Medical Mutual’s emergency physicians, 62 percent of its OB/Gyns and 70 percent of its general surgeons had been sued for malpractice.

While North Carolina’s medical liability climate had yet to reach an acute crisis stage, by 2004 both the medical profession and political representatives began serious discussions about the potentially damaging statewide effects the growing problem of medical liability premiums could have on the quality and affordability of healthcare.

Ultimately, the North Carolina medical establishment, legal community and state legislators agreed that mediation can be much more effective than litigation in resolving claims of medical negligence because mediation is less expensive and more efficient; it can take into account monetary and non-monetary values, and it facilitates communication between the parties.

The resulting Voluntary Arbitration of Health Care Claims Act marks the first time doctors in North Carolina have had any cap on medical liability awards. In addition, the statute sets up specific procedures and timelines for selecting arbitrators and conducting discovery. Hearings start within 10 months of the parties’ agreement. Arbitrators must issue a decision within two weeks of the hearing’s completion, versus the average two to three years it can take for a case to make its way through trial.

While both sides agree that the bill was an important step, they point to other areas of future reform where agreement will be difficult. The North Carolina Medical Society has gone on record saying that they intend to continue pushing for greater medical liability tort reforms that will ensure affordable liability coverage and access to care for the state’s citizens.

Latest Medical Malpractice Insurance News from North Carolina

June 2011
North Carolina's Governor Beverly Perdue, vetoed Senate Bill 33 (Medical Malpractice Reform Bill) that would have provided a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages resulting from medical malpractice insurance negligence. For more information on this bill and the Governor's veto please read our medical malpractice insurance blog

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