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Medical professional liability results improve: Fitch

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U.S. medical professional liability results improved significantly last year, reversing a four-year trend of weakening performance, but still generated a 108% combined ratio, says Fitch Ratings Inc. in a report issued Monday. 

The rating agency predicts segment performance will further improve this year because of earned premium growth related to recent material premium rate increases. 

It says the market segment is benefiting from the commercial insurance market’s hardening phase, with 2021 net written premium approaching $10 billion following a 10.4% annual increase. This compares with the 2018-2020 period’s 4% three-year average. 

The report says, however, that a return to underwriting profitability is less likely, given challenges from the market’s competitive nature, and uncertainty about incurred loss experience from economic volatility, higher inflation and any post-pandemic revival of litigation activity.   

The report says any pandemic-related pause in claims settlement patterns and judicial activity is now subsiding as courts reopen and health care utilization returns to prior norms.