Frequently Asked Questions

  • General

  •  Does the 'Heartbleed' internet server bug affect ISMIE's security?

    Recently there has been significant publicity about a security flaw built into the open-source encryption technology that protects many websites called the "Heartbleed bug." Upon becoming aware of the Heartbleed bug, ISMIE Mutual immediately reviewed our systems.

    At this time, we can confirm our online and policyholder accounts have not been impacted by the bug.

    Click here for more information about the Heartbleed bug and affected sites.

     How can I access current Managing Risk materials and earn Risk Rewards premium discounts through the Managing Risk Partnership Program?

    You can access up-to-date Managing Risk information from the homepage. For exclusive policyholder information, to register for a seminar or to access online learning tools, log on by entering your username and password. If you need to request your login information, contact us via email at onlinehelp@ismie.com or call us toll-free at 888-476-7776.

    You can save up to 15% on your insurance premium through your successful completion of Risk Rewards activities. These savings are in addition to any discounts you may already have, such as our loss-free discount. Discounts earned during the 2011 calendar year will be credited to policy renewals beginning in July 2012. All eligible policyholders are mailed written materials detailing the options. You may also access this information at www.ismie.com; email riskmanagement@ismie.com, or call us at 800-782-4767, ext. 3300. 

     What is ISMIE Mutual doing to counteract the medical liability crisis?
    • In partnership with ISMS, ISMIE Mutual engaged in a multi-year campaign to raise awareness for the importance of the 2005 medical liability reform law, which was unfortunately overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2010.

    • In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, ISMIE Mutual joined ISMS to convene a series of physician-focused meetings to determine future strategies for reform. ISMIE Mutual continues to evaluate alternative and innovative solutions for medical liability reform.

    • ISMIE Mutual supports and promotes research on the damaging effect of Illinois’ broken medical legal system.

    • Through initiatives such as the Risk Rewards Partnership Program, ISMIE Mutual is a leading innovator for risk management.

    • Patient and physician education remains a priority, which is reflected by the 2011 publication of Responding to Unanticipated Outcomes.

    • ISMIE Mutual welcomes invitations to speak at grand rounds, medical meetings or other public forums to promote the overwhelming benefits of medical liability reform and how reform increases access to medical care.
     What is the best browser with which to view this website?

    We recognize that our visitors may have various Internet Browsers and Operating Systems. We like our visitors to have the best possible experience on the web when using our Site. However, we do recognize that it is impossible to develop applications that work identically, efficiently and effectively on all web browsers.

    The ISMIE Mutual website supports Internet Explorer 10, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome and any other modern web browser compatible with HTML5 and CSS3.

    Mobile Devices and Tablets

    The site supports browsing from a Mobile or Tablet device. Content is sized and displayed based on the display resolution supported by the device you are browsing from. Specially formatted contents for these devices are served automatically by default.

    If you need assistance accessing your policyholder information online, please contact us toll-free 888-476-7776 or email onlinehelp@ismie.com.

    Visit the links below to download the latest version of your favorite browser:

     Who can answer my questions about my premium and coverage?

    Call our Underwriting Division at 800-782-4767 ext. 3350, or 312-782-2749. You may also send an inquiry by email to underwriting@ismie.com. Our staff is standing by to assist you with answers to your questions.

  • A.M. Best Rating

  •  How does A.M. Best determine a rating?

    The rating process by A.M. Best is not limited to an insurer’s ability to pay claims. The process is complex, involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis, including:

    • Profitability analysis
    • Underwriting experience
    • Investment income
    • Capital generation analysis
    • Leverage analysis
    • Loss and loss adjustment expense reserve development
    • Liquidity analysis
    • Cash flow

    Many of the above items indicate a company’s financial strength, which is of critical importance in the long run, particularly to medical liability – a market historically prone to extreme swings in volatility. It is the financial strength of an insurance company that provides the resources necessary to withstand the “ups and downs” of the medical professional liability market. 

     What about other companies in Illinois and their A.M. Best rating?

    While an A.M. Best rating is an important factor in an overall evaluation of a medical liability insurance carrier, the rating alone does not guarantee a company will continue to be here for Illinois physicians as ISMIE Mutual has for more than three decades.

    Some of ISMIE’s competitors choose to have their companies rated by A.M. Best; others do not. ISMIE invests the time and effort to go through the vigorous rating process - with all its scrutiny - because of the belief that policyholders should have an objective resource by which they may affirm their choice of ISMIE Mutual as their medical liability insurance company. 

     What is an A.M. Best rating?

    A.M. Best is an agency that rates medical liability insurance companies and other carriers that cover a broad range of insurance lines. A rating by A.M. Best is representative of Best’s opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and that insurer’s ability to meet ongoing obligations to its policyholders.

     What is ISMIE Mutual’s A.M. Best rating?

    ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company’s rating from A.M. Best is currently A- (excellent). In issuing this rating, Best recognizes ISMIE to be a financially secure company with long-term viability in the Illinois medical liability market. 

     Will ISMIE Mutual experience a change to its rating in the future?

    Each year, usually in the spring, meetings are held with A.M. Best to review ISMIE Mutual’s financial and operational results from the preceding year. A change to ISMIE’s A.M. Best rating – either an upgrade or a downgrade – may occur from year to year, or the rating may go unchanged. 

  • ISMIE Mutual’s Relationship with Brokers

  •  How are brokers compensated?
    • Brokers are compensated through the payment of commissions. Even though it is the policyholder who decides to use the services of a broker, it is the insurance company that actually pays the commission. This is true in any line of insurance – whether it be auto, home, medical liability, health, etc.

    • The amount of commission that ISMIE pays a broker is a percentage of the policyholder’s annual premium.

    • The commissions paid to brokers are but one part of ISMIE’s overall administrative and operating costs. All such administrative costs are included in the development of ISMIE’s rates. This is standard insurance industry practice. An insurance company’s rates must account for both loss costs, as well as all of the expenses necessary to manage the company’s activities.
     If I don’t use a broker, and ISMIE does not have to pay commission, why can’t I receive a discount?
    • Commissions paid to brokers are part of the overall operating expenses factored into annual premium rates. Throughout the insurance industry – not just medical liability, but also auto, home, health, etc. – it is one of the various operational expenses incurred by an insurance company.

    • The basic philosophy of insurance is to spread risk among policyholders based upon the individual insured’s exposure to potential loss. Fair underwriting practice dictates that physicians in different specialties and different geographic locations pay premiums based on the loss history of those specialties and locations. Certain specialties and counties that exhibit similar loss patterns are grouped together. All policyholders share the costs of common operational expenses. Broker commissions are part of those operational expenses that are shared among all policyholders.
     Why does ISMIE Mutual work with brokers?
    • ISMIE Mutual accepts business on both a direct and brokered basis. It is a policyholder’s choice whether or not to use a broker.

    • Until the mid-1990s, ISMIE did not accept broker business. Prior to that time, ISMIE was a direct writer, i.e., ISMIE initiated and maintained a direct relationship with its policyholders. During the mid-1990s, when more than 40 companies were writing medical liability insurance in Illinois, an increasing number of physicians began to use brokers to shop for insurance coverage. This was true of ISMIE policyholders, as well as physicians who were not insured through ISMIE. To accommodate ISMIE insureds and prospective insureds, ISMIE agreed to work with brokers and to accept business from them.

    • Currently more than 70 percent of ISMIE’s policyholders have chosen to use the services of brokers. This is an overwhelming majority. As long as policyholders choose to use brokers, ISMIE will, without hesitation, accommodate that choice.
     Why doesn’t ISMIE stop using brokers, so as to bring premiums down?

    ISMIE has always believed that a direct relationship with policyholders is the best relationship. However, more than 70 percent of ISMIE’s policyholders now choose to use the services of a broker. In keeping with the changing business and professional desires of our physician colleagues, and our hallmark service philosophy, ISMIE will accommodate a policyholder’s decision to engage a broker.