He Sets Your Doctor's Bill

A Chastened Insurer

You don't have to feel sorry for the insurance industry to appreciate Donald Zuk's predicament. The CEO of SCPIE Holdings, California's second largest malpractice insurer, Zuk launched an ambitious plan in 1996 to expand into new states like Texas and Georgia and into new lines of business, such as insuring dentists and higher-risk doctors. It was a disaster.

Zuk, 66, a burly former football player, found himself fighting a multistate price war, cutting premiums to grab market share and badly underestimating how much his firm would pay out for claims against doctors. "The loss ratios were going through the roof," Zuk...

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