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Professional Indemnity Insurance

What is indemnity insurance? Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the costs and expenses of defending allegations of professional malpractice in the administration of client care. The policy also pays any costs if damages awarded against you in such cases.

Why do I need indemnity insurance The current Accident Compensation Scheme means that registered health professionals can only be sued for compensation on narrow grounds. There are many other forums where a midwife may need legal assistance to defend her practice so indemnity insurance is vital for all members. Currently the Ministry of Health requires authorised practitioners holding an Access Agreement to maintain Professional Indemnity protection.

What does indemnity insurance cover me for?

Indemnity Insurance covers you for incidents that may result in:

  • Human Rights Review Tribunal proceedings
  • Coroner’s Court inquiries and hearings
  • Accident Compensation treatment injury claims
  • Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act proceedings including those involving; Midwifery Council, Professional Conduct Committee, The Director of Proceedings, The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.
  • Public liability and civil actions in contract; unintentional defamation; consumer law and privacy or intellectual property infringement claims
  • Loss of Documents
  • Claims of negligence or error
  • Criminal Prosecutions

How much is the cover for? The policy, arranged by Avon Brokers and underwritten by QBE, provides for up to $1,000,000 for each year in the aggregate, including legal costs. However, for criminal defence costs and Midwifery Council proceedings there are limitations and special conditions. Because of space limitations, this brochure is an outline of the policy coverage only and cannot fully represent the terms of the policy which may, in any case, vary from year to year. Members who wish to rely on the Policy terms and conditions should in the first instance consult the Legal Advisor of the College/refer to the Policy conditions applicable to their situation. A copy of the Policy can be obtained from National Office.

When am I covered? You are covered by the policy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while working anywhere in New Zealand. If you work outside New Zealand you will need to arrange indemnity insurance for the countries you work in.

Who is not automatically covered?

  • Affiliates
  • Consumers
  • Midwives who have paid the incorrect subscription rate
  • Associates
  • Unwaged, non practising midwives

Can I invalidate my cover? Yes – you may not be covered if you:

  • Consult or instruct lawyers prior to notifying the NZCOM Legal Advisor
  • Make a late notification of a potential claim
  • Are drunk while giving care or
  • Under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Are fraudulent or dishonest
  • Commit malicious or deliberate acts or omissions

Who is covered? Members of the college who are automatically covered providing they pay the appropriate membership fee are:

  • Self employed midwives
  • Employed midwives
  • Associates with indemnity – registered nurses, lactation consultants and childbirth educators
  • Student midwives NB: You are not covered for an incident if you join the College after it occurs or if you have not paid your annual membership fee at the time of the incident.

How do I get help? If you are involved in any incident where your midwifery care could be disputed or questioned by any party: * Please contact the College of Midwives as soon as possible. It is essential to report to the College of Midwives any circumstances that could lead to the questioning of your professional practice or result in a dispute as soon as you are aware of it. If you don’t notify early enough the insurer could refuse you cover. * The college will advise you on the steps you need to take in the situation and will activate your insurance. * If legal assistance is required, it will be provided through the College of Midwives. If you use your own lawyer without consultation with the College and the prior written agreement of the insurer, you will be responsible for any legal costs.