Frequently Asked Questions
What is MPM?
MPM is a Missouri not-for-profit provider of professional liability insurance. MPM was formed under the authority of Chapter 383 RSMo, legislation that was designed to help control the escalating cost of professional liability insurance charged by stock insurance companies.
Who does MPM benefit?
MPM is comprised of our member policyholders, not shareholders. We are focused around the best interests of our insured physician members. Members benefit from moderately priced professional liability insurance premiums. They are not victims of the need to generate stock dividends, or maintain a stock price above a certain level.
As a member of MPM, am I liable for its losses?
Current members could be assessed only if our assets were inadequate to cover claims. The assessment would be made on a proportional share of annual premiums. Currently, we have more than adequate reserves to cover the amount of our anticipated losses, and we have reinsurance to cover losses above that as well. Therefore, the likelihood of an assessment being necessary is very small.
Has MPM or any other 383 company assessed its members?
To our knowledge there is no precedent for a 383 medical liability insurance company assessing its members in Missouri.
Who do I contact if I want to learn more about MPM’s services?
If I switch my coverage to MPM from my current carrier before my policy expires, will I get a refund from the other company?
You’ll have to ask your current carrier. Most carriers will charge a 10 percent penalty on the balance of the premium, but the savings gained by switching to MPM might more than make up the difference.
How do I “terminate” a patient from my practice?
The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends: notify the patient in writing of your decision and give the patient their recommendations for physicians who can be contacted. If the patient is currently being treated by the physician for an acute illness, it is recommended that the physician wait to discharge the patient until the patient has completed treatment and is stable.
Additionally, MPM suggests the following: (1) the notice be in writing, preferably by certified mail, return receipt requested; (2) Provide the patient a brief explanation for terminating the relationship; (3) Agreeing to continue to provide treatment and access to services for 30 days; (4) Providing resources to find another physician; and (5) offering to transfer the records to the new physician upon signed patient authorization to do so.
What is reinsurance?
Reinsurance is a risk transfer between a primary insurance company to one or more other insurance companies. Most primary companies insure only part of the risk on any given policy, with the amount varying among companies. The remainder of the policy limit is covered by reinsurance entities.
Where does MPM rank vs. its competitors?
MPM is #1 in the Missouri professional liability insurance market, both in total premiums and in the number of physician members.
What makes MPM different from other providers?
Since opening for business in March 2003, we calculate we have saved Missouri physicians approximately $120 million on their professional liability premiums.
MPM has not taken an effective rate increase since its inception. This marks the fifth year without an increase, providing marketplace stability versus the double-digit rate increases physicians were experiencing previously.
We’ve not only kept our promise to lower rates, but we’ve also produced strong financial results: $72 million in total assets, reserves of $40 million, and a policyholder surplus of $11 Million
We offer a superior product at a fair price.
We operate as a Missouri not-for-profit corporation.
The depth of our commitment to physicians is unique. We want physicians to be able to focus on providing the best possible care to their patients. That’s why we not only offer the best professional liability insurance coverage, but also advocacy and education, arbitration programs, patient-physician dispute resolution, risk management and other value-added products.
Dont all those “value-added products” cause my premiums to be higher?
Quite the opposite. The additional services we offer our insured physicians are designed to help them spend their time in the treatment room and the operating room rather than the courtroom. Our focus is on preventing claims by helping physicians communicate more clearly with patients before treatment begins and keeping accurate records of patient consultations.
How does MPM keep my rates from going up due to the unfavorable claims experience of other policyholders?
Our underwriting committee carefully considers physician-applicants. Our selective underwriting helps us to minimize risk, resulting in the majority of our policyholders falling into the three lowest-risk categories. This practice keeps our claims payout low and our reserves strong.
Do you refuse coverage to any applicants?
Not all doctors who apply for coverage with MPM are accepted. We do refuse to cover some doctors whom we consider to be bad risks. As a Mutual company, we understand our policyholders do not want to have bad risks among the membership.
Are physicians involved in settling or defending decisions with MPM?
What is a consent-to-settle agreement?
A consent-to-settle agreement is designed to allow the insured input in the decision to settle or try the issues of a claim. MPM’s consent-to-settle enables the MPM insured to have input on the decision if a trial, settlement, or other disposition shall take place.
What is a “hammer clause?” What does MPM do?
A “hammer clause” is a provision included by insurers in some consent-to-settle agreements to encourage the policyholder to accept a recommended settlement offer. It provides that if the policyholder refuses a settlement offer recommend by the insurer, the insurer’s liability is limited to the amount of the recommended settlement offer. Example: The insurer recommends a settlement offer of $50,000. The policyholder refuses the offer, and the claim results in a judgment of $100,000 against the policyholder. The insurer will only pay $50,000, less any deductible. The policyholder is responsible for the balance. At MPM, we put many claims before a name-withheld or “blind” peer review to make recommendations with regard to litigating or settling the claim.
What is tail coverage?
Tail coverage is an extension to a policy that safeguards against claims made after a physician retires or when a physician’s current insurance carrier is different from the one used at the time of the malpractice complaint. Tail rates and terms differ.
Are MPM’s premiums different for the various medical specialties?
Yes, rates are based on a physician’s chosen field of expertise and training, as well as claims experience.
Does MPM include nurse practitioners in corporate coverage? Is there an additional charge?
Yes, we include nurse practitioners in corporate coverage. There is no additional charge for shared limits.
I don’t understand insurance. Why should I expect an insurance company to understand medicine?
As a member-driven organization, MPM does everything possible to include physicians in our decision-making. A key part of that effort is the establishment of six regional physician advisory boards . 36 physicians and practice managers, representing a variety of practices and sub-specialties, with whom we meet regularly that advise us on issues affecting their practices.
What other kinds of expertise do you have access to?
To ensure that we’re following best practices in all disciplines, we’ve outsourced professional services to firms that represent the best of the best in their respective fields.
Because we’ve adopted an outsourced business model, there are no corporate layers within MPM. Our overhead is lower, and our management staff is dedicated to giving physicians the peace of mind to focus on their practice.
What assurance do I have that MPM won’t be sold?
MPM is not for sale, period. The Company’s articles of association and bylaws were written with checks and balances that prevent any one group or person from gaining control. A sale would require a “super majority” of members, or 75% of members voting for the sale. These steps have been taken because our members have clearly indicated they don’t want to risk the sale of MPM to a stock company, which will ultimately result in a return to escalating premiums.
For purposes of defending a medical malpractice claim that may be filed against me in the future, how long must I maintain a patient’s medical records?
If you are currently aware of a claim for medical malpractice, do not destroy or discard any records without approval of the Company and its defense counsel. In all other cases, then we recommend retaining all medical records and bills for a minimum of eleven (11) years from the date of the last service provided for a patient, except in cases of minor patients in which case the records should be kept until the later of: the minor’s twenty-first (21st) birthday or eleven (11) years after the date of the last service.
Please consult your personal/corporate counsel for possible longer retention recommendations based on your particular situation.