Over 35 years ago, as California was gripped by a medical malpractice insurance crisis, leading physicians came together to pass historic legislation on behalf of doctors and tort reform. In the wake of this achievement, The Doctors Company emerged as an entirely new type of insurance carrier—a carrier founded, owned, and led by doctors.
Malpractice lawsuits and jury awards in California skyrocketed during the 1970s, causing commercial insurance companies to raise rates by more than 300 percent or leave the market altogether. Thousands of physicians faced nonrenewal from their insurance companies, while others refused to provide care until the state addressed the crisis.
In May 1975, Governor Jerry Brown called a special session of the legislature. During that session, leading medical groups helped secure the passage of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), landmark legislation that has become the national model for effective and durable tort reform.
After its passage, several of MICRA’s leading proponents came together to establish a company that would continue the tradition of advocating for and protecting physicians. The Doctors Company founders recognized that an organization owned and led by physicians could focus on meeting the needs of its members rather than on answering the demands of outside stockholders. In addition, the member-owned structure meant that The Doctors Company would be uniquely aligned with physicians’ interests and in an ideal position to represent and advocate for physicians in political and legal settings.
The mission was clear: The Doctors Company would work relentlessly to advance, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine.
During the company’s inaugural year in 1976, 450 physicians subscribed as members. Today, we are the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, protecting 78,000 members nationwide.
As we grow, we remain true to the principles that inspired our founders—ensuring that the doctor’s voice is heard, from the exam room, to the courtroom, to the nation’s capital.