Medical Indemnity or Medical Malpractice Insurance – which one do I need?
The simple answer is it depends on your situation. You may need Medical Indemnity, Medical Malpractice or you could need both!
Medical Indemnity and Medical Malpractice both refer to insurance that provides protection against claims of professional negligence. In most non-medical professions this insurance is referred to as Professional Indemnity however in the medical profession it is either called Medical Indemnity or Medical Malpractice. The terminology is often confused, but they are two specific products covering two very different scenarios.
The most common requirement for medical professionals is individual Medical Indemnity insurance. In Australia this insurance is a compulsory condition of your registration as a medical practitioner. Most allied health professionals also have a similar requirement. This insurance is highly regulated by the government who stipulate how much cover must be taken, some benefits that must be included and even which insurers are allowed to provide the insurance.
Medical establishments require a separate policy on top of the individual practitioners own insurance. This additional cover is most commonly referred to as Medical Malpractice insurance, but is often given other names. The establishment can be held legally responsible for the provision of health care services regardless of whether the medical practitioner is an employee, locum doctor or working under a contract. In some cases the individual medical practitioner and the medical establishment will be joined in legal action. Medical Malpractice operates in a similar way to Medical Indemnity and will normally include some legal advice as a benefit of the insurance.
Whilst the terminology might be confusing, the medical practitioners own situation determines which insurance cover is required. These two insurance products are similar, but are intended for very different scenarios.