Professional indemnity for healthcare practice

MIPS membership includes indemnity insurance as part of the cover and support we provide to healthcare practitioners and students. 

Healthcare professionals in clinical practice face significant risk of complaints, legal action and investigation. MIPS membership affords a number of benefits including indemnity insurance cover for up to $20 million that meets AHPRA’s mandatory requirements. Indemnity insurance provides civil liability cover, including defence costs, for claims arising out of acts, errors or omissions you make in providing healthcare.

MIPS membership is available to doctors, dentists, oral health professionals, nuclear medicine technologists and healthcare students in these disciplines.

More than just insurance. MIPS is a membership organisation committed to providing members with the security and support they need to practice with confidence. Benefits of membership, including insurance covers and MIPS Protections, have been specifically developed to meet the needs of healthcare professionals and students.

As a member, you are automatically covered by two of MIPS' indemnity policies:

See the Membership Benefits Handbook and the Insurance Covers Handbook for details.

About medical indemnity insurance cover in Australia

It is a mandatory requirement for registered healthcare practitioners to have indemnity insurance cover in Australia. For medical practitioners, this is commonly referred to as 'medical indemnity' and is governed by the Medical Indemnity Act 2003. MIPS provides indemnity for medical, dental and nuclear medicine practitioners. For this reason, MIPS often refers to 'healthcare indemnity' or simply 'indemnity'.

MIPS is one of six approved medical indemnity insurers in Australia that provide medical indemnity insurance cover to individual practitioners. Dental indemnity is not regulated in the same way and providers do not require AHPRA approval to offer a professional indemnity product for dental practitioners.

Understanding claims-made and medical indemnity insurance in Australia

Medical indemnity insurance in Australia is provided on a claims-made basis. This approach is different to some other countries, such as the UK where cover is generally provided on a claims-incurred basis. MIPS indemnity cover is claims made.

Claim-made insurance policies cover claims made in the period of insurance and notified to the insurer in the period of insurance.

This means that MIPS members are only covered under the Indemnity Insurance Policy and the Practice Entity Policy if they are a member at the time the claim is made against them. Also, you are not covered for incidents prior to your retroactive date or previously known to you or matters that have been notified to you or your previous insurer or medical/dental defence organisation.

You must notify MIPS as soon as reasonably practicable after you first became aware a claim or investigation is made against you, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy.

To the extent provided in section 40(3) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cwlth) where you give notice to an insurer of facts that might give rise to a claim as soon as was reasonably practicable after you become aware of those facts but before the policy period expires; you are covered for any claim made against you arising from those facts even if it is not made against you until after the policy period has expired.

Example of cover

This diagram illustrates a claim under both claims incurred and claims made. MIPS indemnity cover is claims made.

ClaimsMadeIncurredeDiagram.jpg

  • If the policies were claims-made then the incident would be covered by Insurer B because the incident was first notified in period 2 and occurred after the retroactive date. This is how MIPS' cover works.
  • If the policies were claims incurred then the incident would be covered by Insurer A because the incident occurred within the period covered by Insurer A.

Summary of recent history of medical indemnity in Australia

Indemnity insurance for doctors and dentists has typically been provided by Medical Defence Organisations (MDOs) such as MIPS.  Nowadays it is a very stable industry with a small number of providers.

In 2002 there were significant concerns about the capital adequacy of indemnity insurers and the Government announced a number of measures. Later, a major reform legislated which included the Medical Indemnity Bill 2002 (Cwlth) which forms the back-bone of the industry now. When this bill was introduced, insurers moved from claims-incurred models similar to house and car insurance contracts, to claims-made insurance contracts, which include retro-active cover. This provides better protection for both the healthcare practitioners and the community.

Universal Cover

Indemnity insurance cover is a mandatory requirement for Australian healthcare practitioners. Each state and territory has an insurance provider under Universal Cover for medical indemnity insurance to ensure every registered practitioner is able to obtain indemnity cover. In simple terms this means there is an insurer of last resort in each state and territory for practitioners that have been declined insurance cover from other providers. MIPS provides Universal Cover for the ACT and Tasmania. Universal Cover is only made available to members in extraordinary circumstances. Conditions apply. If you think your application will fall under Universal Cover arrangements, you can contact info@mips.com.au for more information.

 

What is professional indemnity insurance?

MIPS' indemnity insurance policy provides cover for any acts, errors or omissions you make in providing healthcare. This means that should there be a complaint, claim, investigation or legal action made against you, then you can notify MIPS. This includes being sued (ie litigation). Once notified MIPS may appoint legal representation. The legal defence costs and any further costs such as damages you are required to pay due to a settlement or court order are paid by MIPS provided they fall within the scope of the policy.

More information on indemnity insurance policies