To analyze professional liability premiums in dermatology and factors associated with premium variation.
This study examines data from a survey of dermatologists conducted in 2004.
Survey respondents (n = 1095) reported mean medical liability premiums of $10 898 in 2004 (95% confidence interval, $10 295-$11 501). Premiums increased by 24.4% in 2003 and 16.7% in 2004. There was substantial variation by state, and mean premiums were higher in American Medical Association (AMA)-declared “crisis states” than in those states listed as “currently OK” ($11 669 vs $9527; P = .03). Premium growth from 2002 through 2004 was higher in AMA crisis states and in states without $250 000 caps in place for noneconomic damages. Even when excluding payment for cosmetic riders, premium levels were higher for dermatologists spending more than 10% of their time in cosmetic practice ($13 816 vs $10 185; P<.001) or more than 30% of their time in noncosmetic surgery ($12 551 vs $10 453; P = .01).
While premiums paid by dermatologists for professional liability insurance in 2004 were well below those experienced by higher-risk specialties, geographic factors and state tort law variation seem to be affecting dermatology premiums in much the same way they affect the field of medicine as a whole.