The year 2019 marked a turning point for the medical professional liability (MPL) insurance industry. Reserve releases declined to less than 5% of premium. Insurers projected a combined ratio over 120% on 2019 earned business. Frequency increased for many writers and the trend in indemnity severity was above inflation. In response, insurers began to take rate action, manifesting in growth in direct written premium that exceeded inflation for the first time since 2005.
Despite significant underwriting losses, the MPL industry returned double its net income for the year as dividends to policyholders. Policyholder dividends show little sign of declining as the MPL industry remains well-capitalized and able to fund policyholder dividends with investment income.