Colorado Medical Malpractice Insurance Primer

In Colorado, there are four major carriers that dominate the medical malpractice insurance market, comprising over 90% of the available market. The biggest of the four carriers is COPIC, insuring around 50% of Colorado physicians. While these big carriers own the bulk of the Colorado medical malpractice insurance market, there are constantly new opportunities opening up with smaller carriers. Careful evaluation and consultation with reputable resources that have access to these new carriers can open up doors to quotes, knowledge you need, and cost saving measures.

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Colorado Malpractice Insurance Basics

  • 4 companies comprise over 90% of the market
  • The largest, COPIC insures about 50% of Colorado physicians
  • Number of Physicians: approximately 13,000 as of Nov 2012
  • Average paid medical malpractice claim was $384k in 2010

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PanoramicofPikesPeak” by ViewfromthepeakOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Liability Limits

In 1998, Colorado General Assembly mandated that physicians licensed in the state of Colorado must maintain professional liability insurance at certain levels. That mandate was updated in 1990 and again in July of 2010. At this time, under HB10-1260, licensed physicians are required to carry malpractice insurance with no less than $1M per incident and $3M aggregate per policy period (1 yr) limits.

Tort Reform

  • Limits awards for non-economic damages to $300,000.
  • Total aggregate limit of $1M per case.
  • Punitive damages cannot exceed actual damages except in the case of willful persistence in the offending action
  • Arbitration agreements are allowed between doctors and patients on a voluntary basis only.

Statue of Limitations

  • Medical malpractice claims must be made within two years of the date of an incident, or within two years of the date of discovery of the incident, or when discovery reasonably should have been made in the course of due diligence.
  • Generally, a medical malpractice claim cannot be made more than three years after the incident that gave rise to the claim.
  • Three exceptions are: the injury and reason for the injury were not made known to the claimant, something unnatural and potentially harmful was left inside the claimant’s body, or the malpractice was purposefully concealed from the claimant.

Summary of the Colorado Medical Malpractice Insurance Market

While the four big carriers noted above own the bulk of the Colorado medical malpractice insurance market, there are constantly new opportunities opening up with smaller carriers. Careful evaluation and consultation with reputable resources that have access to these new carriers can open up doors to quotes, knowledge you need, and cost saving measures.