A law firm that created a new insurance company for Pennsylvania doctors plans to expand into Florida, another state hit hard by rising malpractice premiums and a scarcity of coverage options. The national law firm of Duane Morris, which has written about 500 policies through its 8-month-old Pennsylvania Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange, has applied to Florida's Insurance Department to create a similar company. Thomas Gaudiosi, president and CEO of Florida Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange, said he expects about 700 physicians to sign up over the next year or so. Doctors must pay a "surplus contribution," or the equivalent of a membership fee, and agree to conditions of membership that include early reporting of adverse outcomes, coordination of legal defenses and mandatory risk-management education. The contribution in Pennsylvania ranges from $6,000 to $30,000, depending on specialty. Physicians shouldn't expect bargain-basement rates, Gaudiosi said. "The pitch to physicians is that we're trying to stabilize the marketplace," Gaudiosi said. "We look at this in the long term." -- by Michael Romano
Firm applies to open malpractice insurer in Fla.
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