Wyoming's largest medical malpractice insurer -- OHIC Insurance -- said it will stop writing policies in the state after August as part of a strategy to focus on its core operations in Ohio. Columbus, Ohio-based OHIC covers seven hospitals and 281 physicians in Wyoming, or about 43% of the state's medical malpractice market. The company's decision will leave three insurers providing liability coverage to Wyoming providers. OHIC has been consolidating its business to improve its financial strength. The company lost a number of clients after it was downgraded to a B rating from B++ in June 2003 by A.M. Best. Earlier this month OHIC sold to ProAssurance Corp. its renewal rights in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The sale included policies for 800 doctors and 100 hospitals that expire around May 1.
In other malpractice insurance news, Healthcare Underwriters Group of Florida, a medical malpractice liability insurer owned and governed by physicians, has won Florida's approval to begin issuing policies. The company, based in Dania, Fla., is one of many new insurers that have popped up across the country in the past few years in an attempt to address concerns about sharply rising premiums for doctors. The not-for-profit reciprocal insurer has about 100 policyholders. A company spokesman said more than 2,000 doctors have inquired about coverage so far. -- by Laura B. Benko and Michael Romano