Malpractice Insurers Grab Record Profits While Politicians Shortchange Horribly Injured Patients

MAG Mutual and Medical Mutual Celebrate Riches, Say Consumer Advocates, as Insurance Lobbyists and Republican Lawmakers Push for More

RALEIGH, N.C., May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A record dividend by one of the state's largest medical insurance companies puts the lie to political assertions that doctors here face a crisis in medical malpractice cases, the NC Advocates for Justice said today.

MAG Mutual recently announced its largest stockholders dividend in history, $16.5 million.  A note to policyholder-owners crowed, "This is the fifth year in a row a dividend has been declared. Your physician-owned company has now made distributions in 13 of the last 17 years, totaling $93 million."

Yet despite the insurance company's surging profitability, insurance lobbyists are aggressively pushing for a one-size-fits-all cap on damages in malpractice cases resulting in mutilation, disfigurement, loss of limbs, blindness and other terrible and preventable injuries.

"Republican leaders are putting profits over people.  Insurance lobbyists and GOP lawmakers seek to justify stripping patients' rights by claiming doctors need relief from high insurance premiums while, in fact, doctor-owned insurance companies are making record profits," said Dick Taylor of the NCAJ.  "Republican leaders should re-prioritize by putting patient safety far above insurance company profits."

MAG Mutual controls 18 percent of the North Carolina market, according to a 2009 report by the NC Department of Insurance.  Medical Mutual Insurance Company, with 33 percent of the market, has also posted record-breaking profits.

SB 33 is now the subject of concurrence negotiations between the Senate and House.  Politicians supported by insurance lobbyists are attempting to kill a bipartisan House amendment that would exempt the most extreme malpractice cases from the arbitrary cap.

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SOURCE NC Advocates for Justice