(1) There is a nationwide crisis in the field of medical liability insurance;
(2) Similar crises have occurred at least three times during the past three decades;
(3) Such crises are part of a naturally recurring cycle of a hard market period, when medical professional liability coverage is difficult to obtain, and a soft market period, when coverage is more readily available;
(4) Such crises are particularly acute in this state due to the small size of the insurance market;
(5) During a hard market period, insurers tend to flee this state, creating a crisis for physicians who are left without professional liability coverage;
(6) During the current crisis, physicians in West Virginia find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to obtain medical liability insurance either because coverage is unavailable or unaffordable;
(7) The difficulty or impossibility of obtaining medical liability insurance may result in many qualified physicians leaving the state;
(8) Access to quality health care is of utmost importance to the citizens of West Virginia;
(9) A mechanism is needed to provide an enduring solution to this recurring medical liability crisis;
(10) A physicians' mutual insurance company or a similar entity has proven to be a successful mechanism in other states for helping physicians secure insurance and for stabilizing the insurance market;
(11) There is a substantial public interest in creating a method to provide a stable medical liability market in this state;
(12) The state has attempted to temporarily alleviate the current medical crisis by the creation of programs to provide medical liability coverage through the board of risk and insurance management;
(13) The state-run program is a substantial actual and potential liability to the state;
(14) There is substantial public benefit in transferring the actual and potential liability of the state to the private sector and creating a stable self-sufficient entity which will be a source of liability insurance coverage for physicians in this state;
(15) A stable, financially viable insurer in the private sector will provide a continuing source of insurance funds to compensate victims of medical malpractice; and
(16) Because the public will greatly benefit from the formation of a physicians' mutual insurance company, state efforts to encourage and support the formation of such an entity, including providing a low-interest loan for a portion of the entity's initial capital, is in the clear public interest.
(b) The purpose of this article is to create a mechanism for the formation of a physicians' mutual insurance company that will provide:
(1) A means for physicians to obtain medical liability insurance that is available and affordable; and
(2) Compensation to persons who suffer injuries as a result of medical professional liability as defined in subsection (d), section two, article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code.
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.