Home Midwives Membership Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the costs and expenses of defending allegations of professional malpractice in the provision of all midwifery services, including family planning, Well Child services, neonatal intensive care, primary healthcare, promotion, prevention, women’s health, lactation consultancy, childbirth education, midwifery education, expert midwifery advice, midwifery standards review, and conflict resolutions/grief counselling. The policy also pays compensatory damages awarded against you in such cases.

Why indemnity insurance is necessary

There are many forums where a midwife may need legal assistance to defend her practice, so indemnity insurance is vital.

Currently the Ministry of Health requires authorised practitioners holding an Access Agreement to maintain Professional Indemnity protection.

Cover provided by indemnity insurance

Indemnity Insurance covers you for incidents that may result in:

  • Health and Disability Commissioner enquiries
  • Human Rights Review Tribunal proceedings for monetary claims alleging malpractice or breech of privacy
  • Coroner’s Court inquiries and hearings
  • Accident Compensation treatment injury claims
  • Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) 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
  • Defamation proceedings

Frequently Asked Questions

College members who are automatically covered, providing they have paid the appropriate membership fee, are:

  • Self-employed midwives
  • Employed midwives
  • Associates with indemnity, including lactation consultants, educators and instructors
  • Student midwives

The policy, arranged by Avon Brokers and issued by QBE, provides for up to $1,000,000 for each year in the aggregate, including legal costs for any one claim; and up to $3,000,000 for additional unrelated claims. However, for criminal defence costs, there are limitations and special conditions.

Eligible members 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.

Yes, you may not be covered if you:

  • Consult or instruct lawyers without prior approval from the College
  • Make a late notification of a potential claim
  • Are involved in a complaint alleging dishonesty, fraud, harassment, discrimination, malicious or deliberate acts or omissions
  • Have not paid appropriate College membership fees and any insurance levy, both at the time of the alleged incident and at the time the claim is first made against you (excepting when you have permanently retired from practice)
  • Have professional indemnity cover under another insurance policy

If you are involved in any circumstance that could lead to the questioning of your professional practice or result in a dispute, it is essential that you report to the College Legal Advisor as soon as possible.

If you don’t notify the College Legal Advisor early enough, the insurer could refuse you cover.

The College Legal Advisor 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. If you use your own lawyer without consultation with the College and without the prior written agreement of the insurer, you will be responsible for any legal costs.


This 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 should in the first instance consult the College Legal Advisor and refer to the Policy conditions applicable to their situation. A copy of the Policy can be obtained from National Office.