State's Only Med-Mal Firm Built From Scratch

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 12:00 am  

Corey Little, front, started Arkansas Mutual Insurance Co. in 2007. Investors like Tom Robinson, rear, helped provide the $2.5 million needed to start the state?s only med-mal mutual from scratch. (Photo by Michael Pirnique) (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Uphill Battle

After its formation, the mutual did not immediately find its footing.

"It took almost two complete years to come to fruition and become an admitted carrier by the state, and that's a big deal," Little said.

Also, there's been a bit of a rift between Arkansas Mutual and the Arkansas Medical Society, which did not believe Arkansas needed its own med-mal carrier.

"If you look at when and where other mutuals were formed, it was when there was no carrier, or the carriers in those states either pulled out, or they were down to one, with no competition, or they were in states large enough to support a carrier," Wroten said.

Other questions arose: For example, how much of the mutual's premiums went to the management company to pay off the original investment?

According to Little, 82 percent of each premium dollar goes towards claims, and some of the remainder returns to the management company to pay back the original investment. He said most of the company's employees are paid by the management company.

"The management company will recoup its investment many years down the road, when we've got 2,000 or 3,000 doctors," Little said.

Additionally, Little said, the mutual has had difficulty finding its voice as the Medical Society has historically aligned itself with other liability insurance companies.

"David Wroten has assured me that within the next month or so I'd be able to get in front of the executive committee," Robinson said. "I trust what he says, but it has taken five years from our inception to be able to do that."

Building a client base also hasn't been easy.

"I've been really frustrated over the last few years," Robinson said. "Some physicians get the concept immediately and want to join."



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