2010 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 655. Health care liability and injured patients and families compensation.
655.23 Limitations of liability; proof of financial responsibility.

655.23

SUBCHAPTER III
INSURANCE PROVISIONS
655.23 Limitations of liability; proof of financial responsibility.

655.23(3)

(3)

655.23(3)(a)

(a) Except as provided in par. (d), every health care provider either shall insure and keep insured the health care provider's liability by a policy of health care liability insurance issued by an insurer authorized to do business in this state or shall qualify as a self-insurer. Qualification as a self-insurer is subject to conditions established by the commissioner and is valid only when approved by the commissioner. The commissioner may establish conditions that permit a self-insurer to self-insure for claims that are against employees who are health care practitioners and that are not covered by the fund.

655.23 - ANNOT.

Cross Reference: See also s. Ins 17.50, Wis. adm. code.

655.23(3)(b)

(b) Each insurance company issuing health care liability insurance that meets the requirements of sub. (4) to any health care provider shall, at the times prescribed by the commissioner, file with the commissioner in a form prescribed by the commissioner a certificate of insurance on behalf of the health care provider upon original issuance and each renewal.

655.23(3)(c)

(c) Each self-insured health care provider furnishing coverage that meets the requirements of sub. (4) shall, at the times and in the form prescribed by the commissioner, file with the commissioner a certificate of self-insurance and a separate certificate of insurance for each additional health care provider covered by the self-insured plan.

655.23(3)(d)

(d) If a cash or surety bond furnished by a health care provider for the purpose of insuring and keeping insured the health care provider's liability was approved by the commissioner before April 25, 1990, par. (a) does not apply to the health care provider while the cash or surety bond remains in effect. A cash or surety bond remains in effect unless the commissioner, at the request of the health care provider or the surety, approves its cancellation.

655.23(4)

(4)

655.23(4)(a)

(a) A cash or surety bond under sub. (3) (d) shall be in amounts of at least $200,000 for each occurrence and $600,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences before July 1, 1987, $300,000 for each occurrence and $900,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1987, and before July 1, 1988, and $400,000 for each occurrence and $1,000,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1988.

655.23(4)(b)

(b)

655.23(4)(b)1.

1. Except as provided in par. (c), before July 1, 1997, health care liability insurance may have provided either occurrence or claims-made coverage. The limits of liability shall have been as follows:

655.23(4)(b)1.a.

a. For occurrence coverage, at least $200,000 for each occurrence and $600,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences before July 1, 1987, $300,000 for each occurrence and $900,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1987, and before July 1, 1988, and $400,000 for each occurrence and $1,000,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1997.

655.23(4)(b)1.b.

b. For claims-made coverage, at least $200,000 for each claim arising from an occurrence before July 1, 1987, regardless of when the claim is made, and $600,000 for all claims in any one reporting year for claims made before July 1, 1987, $300,000 for each claim arising from an occurrence on or after July 1, 1987, and before July 1, 1988, regardless of when the claim is made, and $900,000 for all claims in any one reporting year for claims made on or after July 1, 1987, and before July 1, 1988, and $400,000 for each claim arising from an occurrence on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1997, regardless of when the claim is made, and $1,000,000 for all claims in any one reporting year for claims made on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1997.

655.23(4)(b)2.

2. Except as provided in par. (c), on and after July 1, 1997, health care liability insurance may provide either occurrence or claims-made coverage. The limits of liability shall be as follows:

655.23(4)(b)2.a.

a. For occurrence coverage, at least $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $3,000,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1997.

655.23(4)(b)2.b.

b. For claims-made coverage, at least $1,000,000 for each claim arising from an occurrence on or after July 1, 1997, and $3,000,000 for all claims in any one reporting year for claims made on or after July 1, 1997.

655.23(4)(c)

(c)

655.23(4)(c)1.

1. Except as provided in subd. 2., self-insurance shall be in amounts of at least $200,000 for each occurrence and $600,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences before July 1, 1987, $300,000 for each occurrence and $900,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1987, and before July 1, 1988, $400,000 for each occurrence and $1,000,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 1997, and $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $3,000,000 for all occurrences in any one policy year for occurrences on or after July 1, 1997.

655.23(4)(c)2.

2. Notwithstanding subd. 1., in the discretion of a self-insured health care provider, self-insurance may be in an amount that is less than $1,000,000 but not less than $600,000 for each occurrence on or after July 1, 1997, and before July 1, 1999, and less than $1,000,000 but not less than $800,000 for each occurrence on or after July 1, 1999, and before July 1, 2001.

655.23(4)(d)

(d) The commissioner may promulgate such rules as the commissioner considers necessary for the application of the liability limits under par. (b) to reporting years following termination of claims-made coverage, including rules that provide for the use of actuarial equivalents.

655.23(5)

(5) While health care liability insurance, self-insurance or a cash or surety bond under sub. (3) (d) remains in force, the health care provider, the health care provider's estate and those conducting the health care provider's business, including the health care provider's health care liability insurance carrier, are liable for malpractice for no more than the limits expressed in sub. (4) or the maximum liability limit for which the health care provider is insured, whichever is higher, if the health care provider has met the requirements of this chapter.

655.23(5m)

(5m) The limits set forth in sub. (4) shall apply to any joint liability of a physician or nurse anesthetist and his or her corporation, partnership, or other organization or enterprise under s. 655.002 (1) (d), (e), or (em).

655.23(6)

(6) Any person who violates this section or s. 655.27 (3) (a) is subject to s. 601.64. For purposes of s. 601.64 (3) (c), each week of delay in compliance with this section or s. 655.27 (3) (a) constitutes a new violation.

655.23(7)

(7) Each health care provider shall comply with this section and with s. 655.27 (3) (a) before exercising any rights or privileges conferred by his or her health care provider's license. The commissioner shall notify the board that issued the license of a health care provider that has not complied with this section or with s. 655.27 (3) (a). The board that issued the license may suspend, or refuse to issue or to renew the license of any health care provider violating this section or s. 655.27 (3) (a).

655.23(8)

(8) No health care provider who retires or ceases operation after July 24, 1975, shall be eligible for the protection provided under this chapter unless proof of financial responsibility for all claims arising out of acts of malpractice occurring after July 24, 1975, is provided to the commissioner in the form prescribed by the commissioner.

655.23 - ANNOT.

History: 1975 c. 37, 79, 199; 1977 c. 131; 1983 a. 158; 1985 a. 340; 1989 a. 56 s. 259; 1989 a. 187 ss. 14 to 19, 29; 1989 a. 332; 1991 a. 214; 1993 a. 473; 1997 a. 11; 2005 a. 36.

655.23 - ANNOT.

An insurer is liable under sub. (5) up to its policy limits. Patients Fund v. St. Paul Ins. Co. 116 Wis. 2d 537, 342 N.W.2d 693 (1984).

655.23 - ANNOT.

That a self-insurance plan could have or should have been approved is irrelevant. Under sub. (3) (a) the plan must actually be approved for a provider to be qualified as a self-insurer. Patients Compensation Fund v. St. Mary's Hospital, 209 Wis. 2d 17, 561 N.W.2d 797 (Ct. App. 1997), 95-3294.

655.23 - ANNOT.

Any liability of a person who is not a health care provider under ch. 655, while doing a provider's business, together with the liability of the health care provider itself, is limited to the amount of primary coverage mandated by sub. (4). Since the Fund is obligated to pay any amounts above this limit, the Fund does not have subrogation rights against a non-provider, or his or her insurer. Patients Compensation Fund v. Lutheran Hospital, 223 Wis. 2d 439, 588 N.W.2d 35 (1999), 96-1344.

655.23 - ANNOT.

Pursuant to Lutheran Hospital, any liability for a nurse's negligence belongs to the responsible health care provider and its insurer. The provider's insurer may not seek contribution from the nurse, and thus it may not seek it from the employer who provided the nurse's services to the provider through a staffing agreement, or the employer's insurer. Rogers v. Saunders, 2008 WI App 53, 309 Wis. 2d 238, 750 N.W.2d 477, 07-0306.

655.23 - ANNOT.

This section is not preempted by federal law. Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Co. v. Muisser, 143 F.3d 1062 (1998).

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