Medical and healthcare professionals know that providing healthcare to the public can come with its share of risks. Malpractice lawsuits and other claims can seriously affect both your finances and professional reputation, so it’s important to consider insurance for medical professionals.
Finding the right insurance for you and your practice can help to protect against these risks, and in certain cases can even be compulsory. Here are three of the most important types of insurance for medical professionals.
Medical Indemnity Insurance
Medical indemnity or malpractice insurance protects the liability of a medical professional if they are found to have injured or caused loss to a person due to errors or negligence in their work.
Medical indemnity insurance is also known as professional indemnity insurance, as it protects professionals who would otherwise be held fully responsible for the outcome of their professional advice and services.
Medical indemnity insurance is a legal requirement for all practicing medical professionals in Australia, as it can cover costs for healthcare professionals and their patients in the event of an incident.
Depending on your insurance policy and provider, should an incident and a subsequent lawsuit occur, here’s what medical indemnity insurance can do:
- Cover your patient’s medical and legal costs
- Cover legal fees and the awarded compensation amount of a liability claim
- Cover associated costs of a lawsuit while you are training at a hospital
- Cover the cost of a patient’s claim against a hospital in which you are involved
- Extend cover to professional work you may complete outside of your workplace, e.g. emergency medical care or volunteering
Medical indemnity insurance in Australia is provided on a claims-made basis. This means that you need to be insured during the period that a lawsuit is brought against you in order to claim. If a lawsuit is brought against you and you are not covered, even if the incident itself occurred during a period of cover, you will not be able to claim.
Medical Practice Insurance
Insuring your medical practice can help you to manage the risks involved in delivering healthcare to the public. Medical practice insurance differs from medical indemnity insurance, as it insures the practice as a whole from a range of different risks.
Depending on your insurance policy and provider, medical practice insurance can help to protect against a range of different risks, including:
- Public liability
- Damage to practice contents
- Burglary and theft
- Equipment breakdown
- Fire and storm damage
Public liability insurance can be part of a comprehensive medical practice package or be accessed separately. This cover protects the liability of the practice as a whole for personal property damage or injury caused by negligence, rather than the individual medical practitioner themselves.
Public liability insurance can protect your practice in situations that medical indemnity insurance can’t, for example if a patient trips over and injures themselves on the steps of your practice, or a nurse administers the wrong vaccine.
Cyber Protection Insurance
While not often associated with the medical industry, cyber-crime is a rapidly growing threat for businesses that hold sensitive information, such as medical records. The Australian government is taking this threat very seriously, requiring all practices in the health and medical industry that handle sensitive information to have an appropriate data breach response plan in place.
The costs of a cyber-attack and data breach can be enormous. Australian laws carry a penalty of up to $2.1 million for failure to comply with regulations and notify affected parties of a security breach. The further cost of data recovery as well as the injury done to a practice’s reputation can be very damaging. Cyber protection insurance can help to mitigate these risks in an affordable way and contribute to preserving the reputation of a medical professional and their practice.
Final Thoughts: Finding the Right Cover
Understanding the terms and conditions of your insurance policy is important to ensure you’re correctly covered and aren’t paying more than you need to in premiums and other fees.
With the variety of different insurance providers and policies available, it can be difficult to find the right cover for your needs. A qualified insurance broker can do the hard work for you and create a customized policy that’s perfect for your requirements. Their industry experience can also ensure your policy is provided at a competitive rate.
It’s essential that medical professionals insure themselves correctly to reduce the financial, reputational and legal risks of operating their practices and serving the public.