Home Midwives Membership Professional Insurance for College Members

Professional Insurance for College Members

There are many forums where a midwife may be called upon to account for her practice or business dealings.  She may need specialist legal assistance and face exposure to legal costs and expenses or the payment of monetary compensation.

The College offers various insurance packages for its members.  These are:

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • General Liability insurance (for self-employed midwives)
  • Statutory Liability insurance (for self-employed midwives)

Entitlement to these insurances is an automatic benefit of membership, providing the appropriate membership fee was paid at the time of the incident that gave rise to a claim and other policy conditions are met.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

This insurance covers the costs and expenses of specialist medico-legal advice, advocacy and representation where there is a claim of negligence, conduct, fitness to practice or criminal wrongdoing relating to practice. Currently District Health Boards (DHBs) require midwives holding an Access Agreement to maintain this insurance. The insurance provides protection to self-employed, employed and New Zealand student midwives as well as Associates with indemnity including lactation consultants, educators and instructors.

Indemnity insurance covers you for incidents that may result in a case involving:

  • Health and Disability Commissioner investigations
  • 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
  • Assistance for medico-legal queries relating to your practice.
  • $1,000,000 per claim and up to a further $2,000,000 for additional unrelated claims
  • Costs of and incidental to any claim, including legal and expert fees, civil fines and penalties
  • $200,000 criminal defence costs *
  • $25,000 for personal costs of attendance at hearings and enquiries
  • Run off cover **

**Run off cover ensures that when a midwife cancels her College membership due to having permanently retired from practice, she will continue to be covered for any future claims arising from any incident that occurred when she was a member. A midwife claiming run off cover may need to re-join the College while the case is being resolved by paying the non-practising rate.

Midwives sometimes have periods where they do not practice for instance temporary sickness, disability, maternity leave, sabbatical or holiday. In such cases, cover will be maintained, for previous practice, if the midwife pays the non-practising or other applicable membership fee. This is because if a midwife cancels her College membership for any reason other than permanent retirement all past and existing benefits are cancelled. The non-practising membership fee is available at a very reasonable price and members retain benefits such as publications (Midwifery News and Journal) and member prices for College workshops, services and resources.

  • Promptly advise the College’s Legal Advisor of any claim or potential claim or adverse outcome – cover may be refused if a midwife does not contact the Legal Advisor as soon as possible.
  • Be aware that the policy will not reimburse any midwife who:
    • incurs legal fees from outside lawyers without prior approval ;
    • is involved in a complaint alleging dishonesty, fraud, harassment, discrimination, or malicious or deliberate acts or omissions;
    • withholds/misrepresents material information during management of the claim
    • has other professional indemnity cover under another insurance policy.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance indemnifies self-employed midwives for all sums that she becomes liable to pay as damages for personal injury or property damage incurred in connection with the practice of midwifery. Cover is automatic with membership.

The types of damage covered include:

  • Damage to client’s or DHB property
  • Landlord’s liability where a midwife tenant causes damage
  • Tenant’s liability where the midwife damages a landlord’s property
  • Damage to another’s vehicle or machinery for equipment
  • $2,000,000 for most types of damage for each policy year
  • $2,000,000 for punitive or exemplary damages
  • $250,000 for vehicles, machinery and equipment
  • Costs of and incidental to any claim, including legal and expert fees, civil fines and penalties

*Excess may apply

Similar to how ordinary house or car insurance works, members must have paid the appropriate self-employed membership fee for the year in which the damage happens.

Statutory Liability Insurance

Statutory liability insurance indemnifies self-employed midwives for certain unintentional breaches of New Zealand statutory law resulting in prosecution. Cover extends to the midwife, her business, her business partner, and employees, including directors, trustees and managers. Cover is automatic with membership.

The types of liability include cases relating to the:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Privacy Act
  • Resource Management Act 1991
  • Building Act 2004
  • Commerce Commission
  • Human Rights or Privacy Complaints Review Tribunal
  • Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal
  • $500,000 fines or penalties
  • $1,000,000 in the aggregate
  • $500,000 defence costs

Certain cases are not covered such as:

  • Health and Safety fines and penalties, though reparations to the victim or their family imposed after a conviction is covered
  • Police prosecutions
  • Liability arising from deliberate, fraudulent, wilful or malicious acts or omissions

*Excess may apply

The policy extends to events from 1 August 2018 providing the midwife has been a member and paid the appropriate membership fee for the year in which the event occurred and has remained a member since that time. A subsequent change in membership from self-employed to non-practising or core, will not affect entitlement provided membership has not ceased since the event occurred.


The above information outlines the policy coverage but does not constitute legal advice. It does not replace the terms and conditions of the policy in place. Any member who has a specific questions relating to an individual situation should contact the Legal Advisor and/or refer to the Policy document; a copy of which can be obtained from National Office upon request.