Medical malpractice claims frequency declining, severity stabilizing, according to Zurich report

Schaumburg, Ill., October 21, 2010 - Data collected from 1,600 hospitals in report years 1997 through 2007 reveals that health care organizations' medical malpractice claim frequency is slightly declining and severity is leveling off, according to a report released by Zurich, one of the leading insurers of hospitals and health care organizations in North America.

The fifth annual Zurich benchmarking report on claims trends in the healthcare industry is now available online and can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/ajsqJS

The report indicates that claims severity, or the average amount per claim, has stabilized over the past several years.  The average annual rise over the past 11 years is four percent.

Additionally, Zurich reports that teaching and children's hospitals have higher claim severity than acute care community hospitals and outpatient facilities. Non-profit hospitals have the lowest severity; and among non-profits, faith-based institutions have the lowest severity of all.

"It's interesting to note that severity does continue to rise among claims valued under $1 million, which are the claims considered more typical within an institution's loss experience," said Leo Carroll, head of Healthcare-Specialty Products, Zurich North America Commercial. "While the most severe claims (those valued above $1 million and $5 million) have stabilized overall, the frequency of those large losses has increased slightly."

Carroll also noted that the most severity prone states continue to be New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. "We're continuing to monitor the impact to claim activity by changes in tort reform, patient safety initiatives, and use of technology to improve quality of care," he said.

Click here to view the complimentary report.

About Zurich

Zurich in North America is a part of Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich), an insurance-based financial services provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America and Europe as well as in Asia Pacific, Latin America and other markets. Founded in 1872, the Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland and employs approximately 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries, including more than 9,500 employees in North America.

Zurich entered the U.S. market in 1912. According to Highline Data LLC (NAIC 2008), Zurich in North America (www.zurichna.com) is the second-largest writer of commercial general liability insurance and the fourth-largest commercial property-casualty insurance company, serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, specialties and programs sectors. Zurich's risk engineering services in the United States are provided by Zurich Services Corporation.

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