NAPA -- The Doctors Company, a physician and surgeon medical liability insurer based in Napa, announced today that a $23 million dividend was awarded to member physicians for "advancing the practice of good medicine."

With the dividend, Doctors Company said it will provide a premium reduction to members in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. The company has about 55,000 members nationwide. The dividend will vary from 4 to 15 percent, depending on the loss experience of the individual state, the company said. Doctors Company said more than $207 million in dividends has been paid to members since 1976, when the company was founded.

"Our strong dividend is made possible by better than expected physician claims experience," said Richard Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer. "The dividend is just one of the ways in which we recognize, reward and thank our physicians for their commitment to superior patient care."

The Doctors Company, which has $4 billion in assets, said the dividends will appear as credits against current premiums effective with renewals beginning July 1.