How Physician Collaboration Influences Claim Outcomes at Physicians Insurance
James P. Campbell, MD
Chairman of the Board
As I near the end of my term as Chairman of the Board I would like to take this time to acknowledge the success of Physicians Insurance.
For the last five years Physicians Insurance has maintained its market share in the state of Washington. Physicians Insurance has reduced pricing 23% and has returned $20 million in dividends to policyholders over the past four years. Physicians Insurance’s risk management services are unmatched, with a strong emphasis on patient safety and avoidance of adverse outcomes.
Physicians Insurance has expanded its markets into Oregon and Idaho. Our company’s surplus stands today at over $185 million, which will enable us to reach into the future and develop new products servicing physician practices.
I would also like to highlight one of the company’s greatest achievements and assets: the Claims Committee. The committee is composed of physicians in different specialties and from various regions. This body of physicians regularly meets to review the company’s significant cases.
The Claims Committee at Physicians Insurance is unique in its focus to address more than medicine in a case. The members of the committee work in collaboration with claims experts in the Physicians Insurance Claims Department to learn about and understand the multiple factors that affect an assessment of a claim or lawsuit. Beyond reviewing the medical aspects of a case, the committee explores investigation methods, the legal discovery process, assessment of venues where the case originated, the skills of the plaintiff and defense counsel, the ability of the insured physician to testify in his or her defense, the ability of other key witnesses on both sides of the case, the difficult legal issues that arise in some cases, and the human factors affecting the patient and the physician. This enables physicians on the committee to acquire a thorough understanding of the case so they can make an informed vote on the recommended disposition—whether it is settlement or trial. By working together in this way, the committee members are able to make the best possible decisions for their colleagues.
Physicians who are fortunate enough to serve on this committee learn a great deal about the legal system and the insurance industry. The physician members gain the perspective that patients, medical professionals, attorneys, and jurors may perceive the same clinical facts in different ways and that deep investigation of facts leading to the lawsuit can make a world of difference in a courtroom.
In a commercial insurance company, where the most important consideration is the bottom line, it is usually the company that makes decisions about high-value claims. At Physicians Insurance, it is the committee physicians that drive the decisions and who are essential to the process. That’s why I am so pleased to have worked in such a collaborative company—where physician input matters and where the result of this collaboration is a thriving insurance company that protects its members and stands by them every step of the way.
Physicians Insurance is not just another insurance company. We are owned and represented by our insureds, the physicians. Physicians Insurance is dedicated to providing the most professional service to our insureds, especially in times of stress and ultimate challenges.
I have enjoyed my time as Chairman of the Board of Directors and want to thank my fellow Board members and all employees of Physicians Insurance for their dedication and service.