History of the Medical Malpractice Insurance Market

During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, many medical malpractice insurance carriers left the state of West Virginia. Even with a state-formed medical malpractice insurance fund, doctor owned carriers dominated the market share. With the lack of carriers, physicians were left with only a few options for liability insurance, most of which came with relatively high premiums. Although tort reform has steadily decreased premiums over the years, premiums still remain uncomfortably high and the state is troubled with numerous claims each year.

West Virginia Medical Malpractice Tort Reform

In 1986, the West Virginia legislature placed a cap of $1,000,000 on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This cap was lowered in the early 2000’s to $250,000, or $500,000 in special cases with adjustment factors as well as joint and several liability reforms enacted.

In addition to the caps placed on damages, medical liability lawsuits were required to present a certificate of merit from experts to help review the standard of care provided by the physician. The certificate of merit, which is obtained before the lawsuit is filed, must have the following information:

  • The expert’s familiarity with the applicable standard of care in question
  • The expert’s qualifications
  • The expert’s opinion as to how the breach of applicable standard of care resulted in injury or death

Summary of the Medical Malpractice Insurance Market

Since the early 2000’s, West Virginia has not held many medical malpractice insurance carriers. Being such a litigious state makes West Virginia unattractive to most carriers. The carriers that remain offer physicians many of the same options.

  • $1,000,000/$3,000,000 Limits of liability
  • Consent to settle provision
  • Claims-made maturity of 5 years
  • Unlimited tail length
  • Defense costs that are outside the limits of liability

Major Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers

  • Medicus Insurance Company
  • ProAssurance Company, Inc.
  • Applied Medico-Legal Solutions RRG Inc.
  • West Virginia Mutual Insurance Group

West Virginia Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates - Top 15 Specialties

Undiscounted State Filed Rate Data averages across all territories for $1m / $3m limits

SpecialtyAverage RateMin RateMax RateCount
Family Practice No Surgery$17,514$11,415$20,528931
Internal Medicine No Surgery$18,112$13,651$20,528575
Emergency Medicine$34,777$26,877$49,625376
Occupational Medicine$12,130$7,940$16,759327
Pediatrics No Surgery$17,514$11,415$20,528237
Obstetrics and Gynecology Major Surgery$79,721$49,635$99,546178
Radiology - Diagnostic$21,782$14,396$25,976166
General Surgery$54,745$29,781$73,216162
Cardiovascular Disease Minor Surgery$25,684$18,861$30,560124
Ophthalmology No Surgery$12,523$6,950$16,759109
Orthopedic Surgery No Spine$50,797$29,781$65,757109
Pathology No Surgery$15,791$9,927$19,16686
Pulmonary Disease No Surgery$22,209$15,700$30,56075
* Please note that the above rates are state filed rates. It is not uncommon for Gallagher Healthcare clients to receive up to 50% or more in discounts from state filed rates. Please Request a Quote to receive a custom premium indication.

Rate Range by Specialty

This chart compares the range of possible state filed medical malpractice premium rates by admitted markets and a few Gallagher Select markets broken out by the top 15 specialties in West Virginia.

West Virginia Medical Malpractice Rate Range Chart

USA Ranking Map

The map below provides a visual display of the nation and compares what a typical primary care physician might pay compared to each individual state and county. This research is based on the average rate for a single specialty, the most common limits in that state, and the mature claims made premium. The darker the blue, the higher the average premium, see how West Virginia compares to other states.

Malpractice Rate Heat Map - United States