Florida's Medical Malpractice Insurance

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Florida's largest malpractice insurance company is pledging to lower rates by 20 percent on average if a bill proposed by Gov. Jeb Bush passes intact.

In a letter to Bush, First Professionals Insurance Company says if legislators pass Bush's plan in a special session later this month, it could lower rates by Oct. 1. Bush called the special session for later this month.

Doctors have been complaining that rapidly increasing insurance rates are driving them out of business. Some have walked away from their practices.

But lawyers who represent malpractice victims said the company's pledge means little. They say FPIC could decrease rates for low-risk specialties, while doing little for doctors with high-risk practices.

The governor's proposal would put a $250,000 cap on the amount victims could win in non-economic damages, such as compensation for the death of a loved one or for pain and suffering. Economic damages, like lost wages and medical expenses, would NOT be limited.