Wisconsin Allows Risk Retention Groups to Insure Health Care Providers

SAN FRANCISCO – The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, a risk retention group (OMIC), announced today that risk retention groups once again are permitted to write health care liability insurance for providers in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin legislature passed the 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, effective July 14, 2015, which includes amendments to the laws that had previously kept risk retention groups from insuring Wisconsin physicians, nurse anesthetists, hospitals, and other medical entities.

In 1990, Wisconsin passed legislation preventing health care providers to obtain medical professional liability coverage from "unauthorized" nondomestic insurers, including risk retention groups. OMIC was unsuccessful challenging the new law in court. Attempts to work with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to reinstate risk retention groups were ineffective.

Starting in 2012, with the support of the Wisconsin Academy of Ophthalmology, the Preferred Physicians Medical Risk Retention Group, and the Wisconsin Society of Anesthesiologists, OMIC pursued legislation with the sponsors of the bill, Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, Representative John Nygren and Senator Alberta Darling, culminating in its final passage. Ultimately, they had the support of Governor Scott Walker who refused to veto the amendments, keeping true to his motto that “Wisconsin is open for business!”

“We are excited to bring OMIC’s ophthalmology-specific services back to Wisconsin,” said Timothy J. Padovese, OMIC President and CEO. “We look forward to a positive working relationship with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and are eager to meet the insurance needs of ophthalmologists in Wisconsin.” This was echoed by Kim Wynkoop, OMIC Senior Legal Counsel and former Chair of the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA), who stated that, "as intended by Congress when it passed the federal Liability Risk Retention Act in 1986, health care providers in every state in the nation can once again obtain their medical professional liability insurance from a risk retention group."

OMIC, a risk retention group, www.omic.com, and a strong supporter of NRRA, is the largest insurer of eye physicians and surgeons in the United States and is the nation’s premier source for ophthalmic risk management information, having educational alliances with 50 state specialized interest ophthalmic societies and maintains the exclusive endorsement and sponsorship of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

About NRRA

NRRA is the professional association that represents the interests of Risk Retention and Purchasing Groups. RRGs are authorized by the Liability Risk Retention Act to write liability insurance nationally when licensed by a single state.