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Medical Malpractice Claims Declining, Says Insurer

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 25, 2010

Data from 1,600 hospitals from 1997 through 2007 shows that medical malpractice claims are declining slightly and the average amount per claim has stabilized, reports Zurich, the hospital and healthcare provider insurer.
The fifth annual benchmarking report on claims trends in the healthcare industry from Schaumburg, IL-based Zurich shows that claims severity—the average amount per claim —has stabilized. The average annual rise over the past 11 years is 4%.
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, Zurich said.

"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."

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