Florida insurance regulators have given approval for a new medical professional liability insurer to begin soliciting physicians to purchase coverage, the company says.
The new reciprocal carrier, Fort Lauderdale-based Florida Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange, says it has begun talking with med mal insurance brokers about signing up physicians across the state.
Bob Lotane, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation, says the approval is contingent upon the company securing $5 million in capitalization by Dec. 31, a date he says the company chose.
"Our expectation is to have at least 250 Florida physicians join the Exchange over the next few weeks," company President and COO Christopher Prestera says in a written statement. "With that threshold level, we'll then apply for the final approvals that give us the authority to issue medical malpractice insurance policies to Florida's physicians that would be in effect as of Jan. 1, 2004."
The med mal insurer says prospective customers must agree to a series of insurability rules for initial underwriting and for continued coverage. Conditions include mandatory reporting of adverse outcomes, coordination of legal defense, risk management education and occasional practice audits.
On Oct. 22, Florida also approved operations of Healthcare Underwriters Group of Florida and Pediatricians Insurance Risk Retention Group of America in the state, following the August passage of a $500,000 cap on noneconomic damages.
Earlier in October, GE Medical Protective, Fort Wayne, Ind., said it would not renew the malpractice policies of 450 Florida physicians whose current coverage expires Jan. 1.