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On Wednesday, the state’s largest medical malpractice insurer said it will return $10 million to the Colorado doctors that it covers.

COPIC Insurance Co. covers over than 80% of privately insured Colorado Doctors. The distribution follows a September announcement that there will not be an overall rate increase for doctors during 2007.

“One of the promises we make to our insured physicians is that we will return distributions to them whenever our finances permit. This has the effect of moderating the total amount paid for medical malpractice insurance,” COPIC Chairman and CEO Ted Clarke said in a press release.

Previously, in December 2005, COPIC had paid distributions that totaled $101.6 million to Colorado Doctors including $2.7 million. The latest $10M distribution is the largest in COPIC’s 25- years.

Clarke said COPIC is able to return the money partly because of medical malpractice reform passed by the Colorado Legislature. The Doctors Co., another medical malpractice insurer, said last month it will reduce premiums next year for policyholders in Colorado by an average of 6.7 percent. It also credited Colorado’s “positive tort reform environment.”

Colorado is one of eight states the American Medical Association labels “stable” amid what it calls a “medical liability crisis.”

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