What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?

What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Are you a medical professional, or provide a healthcare service? Or an Allied Health or Specialist medical centre? What about a care facility that provides any sort of medical treatment or advice? You need a Medical Malpractice insurance policy.

The potential cost of claims for treatment-related injuries, misdiagnosis, medical errors and omissions, professional negligence, administrative errors and similar, can be significantly high, and often negligence does not have to be proven for a claim to be alleged.

What does it cover?

Medical Malpractice (or MedMal as it can be referred to) is a form of Professional Indemnity insurance that is specifically for medical and health or beauty treatment related professions. For medical and allied health professionals, a Medical Malpractice policy is mandatory in order to maintain registration to practice in Australia.

The policy covers the Insured practitioner and their patients, but can also cover the employing practice which might provide nursing treatment or other specialised allied health services.

In its bare-bones form, a Medical Malpractice policy will cover legal costs as well as any compensation you might be ordered to pay as a result of negligence or an error or omission. There are many different versions on the market, however the majority of Insurers include benefits like public relation expenses to assist with reputational damage, and Medicare fraud for example.

What isn’t covered?

There are some broad exclusions with most insurers not providing cover for things like; reckless or deliberate acts causing harm or disregarding a patients safety, sexual abuse and illegal acts for example.

What does Claims Made mean?

Like Professional Indemnity Insurance, Medical Malpractice is overwhelmingly “claims made” insurance, which means you must have the insurance policy in place at the time the claim is notified to you. This is different to an “occurrence based” policy wording which most Public Liability policies operate on. “Claims made” means even if you have ceased practicing, you must maintain a level of cover for a certain period of time in the event someone brings a claim against you at a later date. The long-term nature of the types of things covered under this policy mean it can be many years later when an injury or misdiagnosis for example, is identified.

As always, it is important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for full details on what a policy will and will not cover and engage an experienced broker to help you find the right cover for your needs.

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