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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The issue presented in this appeal is whether, under a claims-made policy, timely notice of separate claims made against two physicians practicing in the same medical group constituted timely notice of a claim against the group when: 1. the notice-of-claim forms identified the group as the insured; 2. the letters containing the claims against the two physicians were attached to the notice-of-claim forms; and 3. the letters stated that the claims were made for the medical care of the same decedent whose care was the basis of the claims against the two physicians and the group in a subsequent suit. The trial court determined that the notice of the claims made against the physicians was sufficient notice of a claim against the group. The subject policy was serviced on behalf of First Professionals by American Physicians Management Consulting Insurance Services f/k/a American Physician Insurance Services (APMC). HOLDING:The court reverses the trial court’s judgment, renders judgment that Heart & Vascular Institute of Texas take nothing against First Professionals Insurance Company Inc., and remands. The primary case relied upon by First Professionals is Texas Medical Liability Trust v. Transportation Insurance Co., 143 S.W.3d 335 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2004, pet. filed). The policy in question is unambiguous in stating that coverage is provided when claims are “made for the first time during the policy period.” The issue becomes whether Heart & Vascular made a claim during the policy period based on the notices of claim filed on March 4, 2003, and March 6, 2003. Because the evidence regarding the notices that were sent to APMC is undisputed, the issue of whether a claim was timely made is a question of law. Although the court disagrees with the Dallas court’s implication in TMLT that a claims-made policy can only be triggered by an Article 4590i notice letter, the court agrees that coverage of Heart & Vascular under First Professionals’ policy could not be triggered until the plaintiffs asserted a claim against Heart & Vascular. The assertion of claims against the individual physicians in the Heart & Vascular group was not sufficient. As the El Paso Court of Appeals explained in Hirsch v. Texas Lawyers’ Ins. Exchange, 808 S.W.2d 561 (Tex. App. – El Paso 1991, writ denied): “Although the notice requirements of a”claims made’ policy appear to be harsh, the ability to make a choice based on need and financial ability is in the public interest. We must not convert claims-made policies to occurrence policies by judicial acts. The policies in question are”clear, unequivocal and hence unambiguous and therefore its terms are enforceable.’” Because no claim was asserted against Heart & Vascular in the 4590i notice letters sent to the doctors, the notice provided to First Professionals regarding those letters was not notice of a claim against Heart & Vascular. Accordingly, the trial court erred in rendering judgment in favor of Heart & Vascular. OPINION:Angelini, J.; Stone, Angelini and Simmons, JJ.

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