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'Never Events' Responsible for One Out of Six Med Mal Liability Claims, Says Aon

Four recognized categories of hospital-acquired conditions make up 12.2

percent of total medical professional liability costs

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Hospital-acquired infections, hospital-acquired injuries, objects left in surgery and pressure ulcers account for one out of every six claims, according to the 2008 Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis, released today by leading risk management services provider Aon Corporation (NYSE: AOC) in conjunction with the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.


As of October 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will cease reimbursement for ten specific hospital-acquired conditions -- often referred to as 'never events,' several of which are included in the four categories mentioned above.

"The increased awareness surrounding these non-reimbursable conditions may cause a rise in the frequency of related hospital professional liability claims, not to mention other hospital-acquired conditions not currently addressed by CMS regulations," said Greg Larcher, director and actuary of Aon Global Risk Consulting and author of the analysis. "This study marks the first time these conditions have been benchmarked, and provides a baseline moving forward for this essential piece of the liability picture."

Roberta Carroll, senior vice president of Aon Healthcare, said, "As health care facilities identify areas in need of attention and implement strategies and solutions to improve their current practices, patient safety will improve and the institutions' risk profiles will reflect that successful progress."

Also new to the analysis this year are benchmarks for the frequency of indemnity claim payments, or the amount paid to patients to settle a claim. This standard is important for entities to track as indemnity claims directly drive overall liability costs.

The study includes an analysis of professional liability costs for the surgery, obstetrics and emergency departments. Various supplementary database segments appear in this year's analysis as well, including facility ownership, number of beds and teaching hospitals.

"For the fourth straight year, we are not seeing an increase in the overall number of liability claims," added Larcher. "That said, the not-for-profit segment of the database reflected an increase in claims for the second year."

The Aon Corporation Hospital Professional Liability and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis, the most comprehensive look at such claims in the U.S. health care industry, was conceived to provide health care risk managers with a better understanding of their cost of risk compared to an industry benchmark. By examining trends in frequency, severity and overall loss costs, health care entities are better able to manage their liability concerns.

More than 100 health care organizations representing more than 1,200 facilities, ranging from small community hospitals to large multi-state publicly traded health care systems, provided loss and exposure data for the study. The hospital professional liability benchmark database includes 77,705 claims representing $9.3 billion of incurred losses, and contains historical claims information for ten accident years (1998 to 2007).

"ASHRM's focus is to deliver programs and resources that help its members improve patient safety and reduce risk, and we are pleased to participate in this important industry benchmarking effort," said Douglas Borg, ASHRM president.

To purchase a copy of the 2008 Hospital Professional and Physician Liability Benchmark Analysis, please dial 1.800.242.2626 and request item #178704. Risk managers who are interested in measuring their organization's liabilities against those of their peers in the industry may visit to access Aon's interactive loss cost calculator.


The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) is a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association with more than 5,500 members representing clinical care, insurance, law and other related professions. ASHRM initiatives focus on developing and implementing safe and effective patient care practices, the preservation of financial resources and the maintenance of safe working environments.

About Aon

Aon Corporation (NYSE: AOC) is the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting. Through its 36,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon readily delivers distinctive client value via innovative and effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions. Our industry-leading global resources, technical expertise and industry knowledge are delivered locally through more than 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Aon was named the world's best broker by Euromoney magazine's 2008 Insurance Survey. In 2008, Aon ranked highest on the Business Insurance ranking of the world's largest insurance brokers based on commercial retail, wholesale, reinsurance and personal lines brokerage revenues. Aon also was ranked by A.M. Best as the number one insurance broker based on brokerage revenues in 2007 and 2008, and was voted best insurance intermediary, best reinsurance intermediary, and best employee benefits consulting firm in 2007 and 2008 by the readers of Business Insurance. For more information on Aon, log onto

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains certain statements related to future results, or states our intentions, beliefs and expectations or predictions for the future which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from either historical or anticipated results depending on a variety of factors. Potential factors that could impact results include: general economic conditions in different countries in which we do business around the world, changes in global equity and fixed income markets that could affect the return on invested assets, fluctuations in exchange and interest rates that could influence revenue and expense, rating agency actions that could affect our ability to borrow funds, funding of our various pension plans, changes in the competitive environment, our ability to implement restructuring initiatives and other initiatives intended to yield cost savings, changes in commercial property and casualty markets and commercial premium rates that could impact revenues, the outcome of inquiries from regulators and investigations related to compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and non-U.S. anti-corruption laws, the impact of investigations brought by U.S. state attorneys general, U.S. state insurance regulators, U.S. federal prosecutors, U.S. federal regulators, and regulatory authorities in the U.K. and other countries, the impact of class actions and individual lawsuits including client class actions, securities class actions, derivative actions, ERISA class actions, and the cost of resolution of other contingent liabilities and loss contingencies. Further information concerning the Company and its business, including factors that potentially could materially affect the Company's financial results, is contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Media Contact

Kelly Drinkwine



SOURCE Aon Corporation
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