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Captive insurers can help reduce health care liability risks

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BOCA RATON, Fla. — Health care liability captive insurers can be a key tool in improving the quality of patient care, captive experts say.

The volume of claims data that can be accessed through a captive, in the right hands, can help health care institutions improve safety practices and ultimately save lives, they say.

And working in partnership with captive reinsurers, captive owners can drill down into even more extensive data and improve medical processes, they said Tuesday during a session of the 2016 World Captive Forum, being held in Boca Raton, Florida.

“Every time there's a failure in patient safety in a hospital, it ends up on a captive balance sheet,” said insurance and captives consultant Michael Maglaras, principal of Michael Maglaras & Co. in Ashford, Connecticut.

Captive owners can use that data to improve their safety protocols, offer better care and avoid the sometimes calamitous consequences of the publicity that can surround a medical malpractice claim, he said.

“Health care liability captives contain a mountain of paid and incurred claim data that can be converted to improvements in the process by which your care and mine is delivered. The health care industry has not done a good job of this, but they are changing rapidly because they cannot compete if they don't,” Mr. Maglaras said.

Increasingly, hospitals are reviewing the claims and using the information to ask “Why did the claims occur, and how do we fix it,” he said.

Health care captive reinsurers should work with captives to provide risk management advice and even more powerful data sets to improve patient safety, said Brian York, vice president of underwriting for Coverys Custom Accounts, a unit of Medical Professional Mutual Insurance Co. in Boston.

“As you take your captive performance, you can benchmark that against your peers in the industry,” Mr. York said. By partnering with a reinsurer, “you can get real-time benchmarking on how you are performing in your space,” he said.

Reinsurers can also provide physician education services that are case-based and help solve the deeply rooted causes of claims, and offer diagnostic support tools, Mr. York said.

“Commercial insurance companies and captives have to work together … it's time to get over the traditional adversarial roles that they have played. Collaboration improves margins for all involved,” he said.