Medical defence organisations (MDOs)

Medical defence organisations in Australia owe their heritage to member based organisations established in the UK in the late 19th century. The Medical Defence Union (MDU) established 1885 and the Medical Protection Society (MPS) established 1892 set the conventions for how indemnity for medical and other healthcare practitioners would be managed in the English speaking world. They remain two of the world’s most established medical defence organisations.

They did not offer insurance, rather funds and services to support members at the discretion of the organisation. Each request was considered through either an executive board or council of representatives. These organisation established subscription fees for membership rather than premiums for policies (which is how most insurance is sold) and did not initially draw any distinction between the risks that one doctor may bring to organisation compared to another. The MDU charged just 10 shillings per membership in its inaugural year.

MIPS was established in Australia by MPS but separated from its parent organisation after just 10 years of operation. In the next few years, the medical indemnity crisis in Australia reshaped the way doctors and other healthcare practitioners were insured.

While the contemporary way MIPS handles insurance covers with a contract of insurance is commonplaces (and mandatory) in Australia, in the UK the discretionary cover remains the same. MIPS is the only Medical Defence Organisation in Australia to retain a membership benefit of discretionary cover, which is called MIPS Assist. It is a standard benefit to all members in addition to the indemnity insurance that is part of membership.

In Australia there are four MDOs and one commercial operator that provide indemnity insurance for doctors. For dental and other healthcare professionals, the regulation is not as tight and there is no list of authorised insurers and so there are potentially more indemnity insurers to choose from. Some brokers may re-sell membership or insurance, however, MIPS membership is only available directly through MIPS.

MDOs typically provide a number of benefits and services beyond the insurance policy that a commercial operator may provide such as education, MIPS Assist and greater ease of access to clinico-legal support and advice.


MIPS membership benefits have been tailored for healthcare practitioners and we provide the best indemnity insurance in Australia. We have simplified our approach to comprehensive cover for our members which are delivered through the Indemnity Insurance Policy and MIPS Assist.

Comprehensive indemnity insurance cover for claims made against you arising out of the provision of healthcare to patients. The limit of cover under the Indemnity Insurance Policy is $20 million. There are no standard excess or pre-set cover sub limits.

MIPS Assist, a unique benefit which provides discretionary assistance for your clinical activities not otherwise covered by insurance (eg assisting you with a dispute with a colleague, employer or regulator)

24hr Medico-Legal Advice and Support, by independent and experienced expert healthcare professionals

Accredited professional development (CPD) including workshops, webinars and on-demand education and resources

Indemnity for approved healthcare placements outside of Australia

Discounted private health insurance as well as access to the My Wellness website where you can obtain nutritional, physical and mental health programs and also perform an online health check


Tools and resources to assist with financial literacy


Membership Quote

Other features of membership

  • Hospital or employer indemnified placements
  • Services when accompanying an Australian sporting or cultural group
  • Gratuitous aid healthcare in a developing country
  • Cover for students undertaking an elective, both local and international
  • Administrative staff and assistants cover (eg practice managers, receptionists and assistants) in relation to your healthcare practice
  • Communicable diseases cover for AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis B and C
  • Support and assistance for members in an employer indemnified job (eg salaried medical officer in a public hospital)
  • Indemnity pursuit assistance to ensure you receive the indemnity your entitled to from your employer or other organisation
  • Provision of telehealth (healthcare provided over the internet, by video conference or telephone in Australia)
  • Cover for prescription of drugs registered under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth)
  • Cover for any claim, investigation or proceeding arising out of the importation, manufacture, distribution or sale of any product (dental practitioners only)
  • Pay your membership fee by monthly instalments (at no additional cost)

This is a summary only, you should read the full list of member benefits, including any terms and conditions which are outlined in the Member Handbook including the indemnity insurance policy.