Mutual Interest Summer 2013: Arkansas Mutual’s Game Plan…Take Care Of Our Own

A message from your CEO, Corey Little

WHEN I FIRST STARTED meeting with Arkansas physicians and insurance experts about the formation of an Arkansas medical malpractice insurance company, Houston Nutt and Stan Heath were Razorback coaches. It was 2007 and Razorback fans were not happy. Neither were the Arkansas doctors that I visited with. These doctors were irritated by being abandoned by St. Paul and unhappy with St. Paul’s decision to leave the med-mal market. They realized that as long as they were with an out-of-state company they would not be able to control such events. Just like with the Hogs,
it was time for a change.

For the next few years the Razorback fans had their solution. Bobby Petrino rode in on a white horse to save the day. Arkansans overlooked the fact that he left Atlanta under the cover of darkness as he abandoned the Atlanta Falcons. Arkansas physicians were also left in need when St. Paul abandoned them. They turned to State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, located in Tennessee, to fill the gap left by St. Paul. What followed was a series of increases in premiums.

When Coach Petrino’s arrogance was revealed through the series of events with the now famous Harley Davidson and his employee, the Razorback program was wrecked…literally. There was great change in the rest of the SEC as well. Urban Myer left Florida for Ohio State. Phil Fulmer was let go at Tennessee and they have had three coaches since. Ole Miss hired Houston Nutt only to let him go for Hugh Freeze who left Arkansas State who hired Gus Malzahn who  subsequently left for the head job at Auburn. Whew….are you still with me? In the meantime, we pick up Coach Bielema from Wisconsin to lead the Hogs into the future. The only constant has been change.

Constant change has also been a fixture in the Arkansas medical malpractice insurance markets. State Volunteer filled the void left by St. Paul. Their dominance has been weakening as Arkansas Mutual and other companies brought much needed competition to the state. According to the Arkansas Insurance Department, State Volunteer has lost over 1,000 insured physicians since 2007. Much like the Tennessee football team replacing their coach, State Volunteer also recently replaced their long-time CEO. A Florida based company, FPIC, was sold to a California company. The Arkansas insureds had no say in this and were simply informed of the change. At the same time, Arkansas Mutual is growing every year. Our impact on premiums is easy to gauge…premiums have dropped over $44,000,000 annually since the formation of our company. It was obviously time for some competition.

Arkansas Mutual’s impact on the med-mal environment will only grow as we keep adding doctors and improving our services and value to our policyholders. We are in the process of building a world-class Risk Management Department with the hiring of Rebecca Tutton, currently the Director of Risk Management at UAMS. Rebecca will be joining our team July 1 and she will hit the ground running. We will be reaching out to you to find ways that Arkansas Mutual can assist you in improving your risk management programs at your clinic or practice.

As you can see, we are dedicated to building the best medical professional liability company possible, comparable to the way Coach Bielema is building the best program possible at the U of A. We are glad that you are a part of our team and if you aren’t, we hope you will consider getting on the winning side with Arkansas Mutual.