Kudos to State Rep. Robert Mumford (R-Conyers) who on Tuesday introduced the Medical Malpractice Insurance Reform Act  . The bill wouldrequire the Insurance Commissioner to hold medical malpractice insurers tothe same rate-filing standards that auto and homeowner insurers have to meet.
"We need to do everything we can to make sure people are able to get affordable health care," said state Rep. Robert Mumford, R-Conyers. "In my view, tort reform has not produced the results it advertised."

An Associated Press analysis of state insurance records last year revealed six of the state’s top insurers of doctors and dentists have increased their liability rates _ in some cases by more than a third _ since new restrictions on malpractice cases became law in February 2005.

Supporters of Mumford’s measure point to California as an example of how theslight change could ultimately decrease medical malpractice rates. Three years after the state approved a similar measure, the malpractice premiums declined by 3 percent, according to Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group.


Currently, most insurers have to get a rate increase approved by the Commissioner before they raise premiums on consumers. But medical malpractice insurers aren’t held to the same standard. An insurer can "file and use" the higher rate immediately, even if the Insurance Commissioner has not yet reviewed the request. Rep. Mumford’s bill would require "prior
approval" for malpractice insurers. It would also require public hearings on any rate increase over 10 percent, so that doctors could voice their opinion about costly insurance. Finally, the bill would give Georgians more information about what’s behind high rates by requiring malpractice insurers to file information with the Insurance Commissioner about their claims
experience and what claims they have paid. This information would then be turned into an annual report and made available to the public.
Two years ago, when we were trying to tell legislators that doctors needed insurance reform more than a "one size fits all" cap on damages, the legislative leadership didn’t want to slow down the train long enough to consider what might really work in holding down medical malpractice insurance premiums.  We tried to tell them that the legislation that contained premiums in California wasn’t the damages cap but the later enactment of insurance reform, but of course they didn’t want to listen.

These sorts of changes are sorely needed in the medical liability insurance market, which is dominated by one organization (MAGMutual). Despite a lack of understanding about what was causing high medical malpractice insurance rates, Georgia enacted tort "reform" in 2005. But

since Georgia passe the bill, doctors haven’t seen rates go down. In fact,some companies have actually raised their rates.

The Shigley Law Firm  represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.