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§33-20F-2. Findings and purpose.

(a) The Legislature finds that:

(1) There is a nationwide crisis in the field of medical liability insurance;

(2) Similar crises have occurred at least three times during the past three decades;

(3) Such crises are part of a naturally recurring cycle of a hard market period, when medical professional liability coverage is difficult to obtain, and a soft market period, when coverage is more readily available;

(4) Such crises are particularly acute in this state due to the small size of the insurance market;

(5) During a hard market period, insurers tend to flee this state, creating a crisis for physicians who are left without professional liability coverage;

(6) During the current crisis, physicians in West Virginia find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to obtain medical liability insurance either because coverage is unavailable or unaffordable;

(7) The difficulty or impossibility of obtaining medical liability insurance may result in many qualified physicians leaving the state;

(8) Access to quality health care is of utmost importance to the citizens of West Virginia;

(9) A mechanism is needed to provide an enduring solution to this recurring medical liability crisis;

(10) A physicians’ mutual insurance company or a similar entity has proven to be a successful mechanism in other states for helping physicians secure insurance and for stabilizing the insurance market;

(11) The state has attempted to temporarily alleviate the current medical crisis by the creation of programs to provide medical liability coverage through the Board of Risk and Insurance Management;

(12) The state-run program is a substantial actual and potential liability to the state;

(13) There is substantial public benefit in transferring the actual and potential liability of the state to the private sector;

(14) A stable, financially viable insurer in the private sector will provide a continuing source of insurance funds to compensate victims of medical malpractice; and

(15) Because the public will greatly benefit from the formation of a physicians’ mutual insurance company, state efforts to encourage and support the formation of such an entity, including providing a low-interest loan for a portion of the entity’s initial capital, is in the clear public interest.

(b) The purpose of this article is to create a mechanism for the formation of a physicians’ mutual insurance company that will provide:

(1) A means for physicians to obtain medical liability insurance that is available and affordable; and

(2) Compensation to persons who suffer injuries as a result of medical professional liability as defined in subsection (d), section two, article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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