While medical malpractice insurance rates in the state of Washington are about 25% more expensive than its neighboring states (Oregon and Idaho have below average rates), the state is only slightly more expensive than average when compared to the country as a whole. Washington is one of the few states that has had a substantial decrease is medical malpractice premium dollars recently, most likely attributable to the state’s consistent, although not particularly successful, tort reform movement. The largest insurer of the state, Physicians Insurance A Mutual (writing 62% of the state), has reduced rates by over 15% since 2009.
Washington Tort Reform
First substantial tort reform action took place in 1986 when the state legislature enacted the Washington Tort Reform Act, which was aimed to help stabilize doctor’s malpractice insurance costs. The largest component of the reform was a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages, regardless of the number of healthcare professionals involved. Other impactful pieces of the legislation included a $700,000 limit on total combined civil liability for non-economic damages resulting from people other than the healthcare professionals themselves as well as the limitation of attorney fees to a fixed percentage of money recovered in the litigation process.
This 1986 Tort Reform Act was ruled unconstitutional in 2003, citing that it violated a citizen’s right to trial by jury based on the notion that the determination of non-economic damages is a factual issue within the province of the jury’s fact-finding role. In response, pro-tort reform activists have once again spent millions to have their voices heard, continuing to maintain that significant tort reform must be passed to prevent rising costs that would threaten the retention of the state’s top physicians. Small, rather inconsequential reform was seen in 2006. One significant aspect of the reform, however, was that it requires the state to collect detailed statistics about malpractice claims filed in the Court system. Claims settled with or without a claim must be reported to the insurance commissioner. The goal is to have accurate empirical data to aid in future tort reform debates.
Major Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies
- Physicians Insurance (A Mutual Company)
- The Doctors Company
- Northwest Physicians Mutual Insurance Company
- Medical Protective Company
- Medicus Insurance Company
Washington Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates - Top 15 Specialties
Undiscounted State Filed Rate Data averages across all territories for $1m / $3m limits
* 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.
|Specialty||Average Rate||Min Rate||Max Rate||Count
|Family Practice No Surgery||$9,476||$4,132||$14,339||3712
|Internal Medicine No Surgery||$10,276||$6,370||$14,339||2203
|Pediatrics No Surgery||$9,773||$6,725||$14,339||1236
|Radiology - Diagnostic||$14,765||$9,735||$24,283||849
|Obstetrics and Gynecology Major Surgery||$49,833||$29,823||$71,695||674
|Orthopedic Surgery No Spine||$31,350||$16,601||$40,123||516
|Ophthalmology No Surgery||$6,756||$4,209||$11,471||407
|Gastroenterology No Surgery||$11,878||$8,406||$14,339||361
|Cardiovascular Disease Minor Surgery||$14,398||$10,087||$20,075||356
|Neurology No Surgery||$14,635||$8,406||$23,087||254
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 Washington.
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 Washington compares to other states.