< Return To Hearing
Mr. Jose Montemayor
February 11, 2003
Good afternoon Chairmen and Members; I am Jose Montemayor. I have the honor of being the Commissioner of Insurance for the great state of Texas. As a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, I chair that group's Property and Casualty Committee, and separately, a working group looking into medical malpractice insurance coverage for physicians and other health care providers on a national basis.
Many states, especially Texas, are writing at significant losses. Texas has $1.60 in losses for every dollar in premium. This trend has affected net worth, with Texas carriers realizing a negative return of 3.3% for 2000, and a negative 2% return for the ten year period.
What can never be fully conveyed in the statistics, though, are the accounts from people who suffer from lack of access to patient care. There are stories from the Rio Grande Valley to the Texas Panhandle of how people do not have access to care, not for lack of means, but for lack of willing providers. It has reached the point where good providers can no longer afford to practice medicine, or limit their accessibility, because of rising premiums. In my own state, doctors have only four carriers to choose from, down from seventeen a few years ago. This trend stifles the advancement of medicine and undermines the human infrastructure of our communities.
The attached report and summary charts presented to the Committees today speak volumes on a simple premise: balanced and reasonable limits on losses will stabilize the medical liability insurance market and will go a long way to alleviate the looming crisis of access to health care.
I would be very pleased to answer your questions.