Published: Oct 05, 2010 3:32 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 05, 2010 12:32 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida's insurance regulators say the market is ripe for companies wanting to write medical malpractice products in the state.

The Office of Insurance Regulation reported Monday that a sign of the strong marketplace was reflected by the entry of several new companies into Florida last year to write medical malpractice insurance.

OIR said medical malpractice insurance companies have enjoyed profitability for six consecutive years in Florida and that the average return on surplus for them in 2009 was 6.6 percent.

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said the stability of the state's medical malpractice market is good news for doctors and hospitals, and possibly patients if lower rates result in cost savings.