Professional Indemnity Insurance for Nurses

Why is Professional Indemnity Insurance Essential for Nurses?

There is a wide range of professions where professional indemnity insurance coverage is essential and one of those professions is nursing. Working as a nurse, you are exposed to a variety of unique professional risks on a daily basis. Nurses perform crucial roles in the care and treatment of sick patients, while they can also conduct a number of important administration tasks involved in the efficient running of a hospital.

The panel of insurance brokers that handles finder.com.au's enquiries is not able to provide quotes for professional indemnity insurance for Nurses as it is provided through their industry association.

The number of incidents that could happen and result in a nurse being the target of a lawsuit is quite large. A nurse could:

  • The incorrect administration of a drug to a patient
  • Accidentally fail to carry out instructions properly to care for a patient
  • Be wrongfully accused of unprofessional conduct either while performing clinical duties or administration work
  • Give the wrong advice to a patient
  • Apply or remove dressings negligently, resulting in damage or injury to a patient
  • Make a mistake or error of judgement due to being overworked.

This is far from a complete list of the risks and dangers nurses face but it gives a good idea of the number of incidents and events that could lead to a claim of negligence being brought against you. According to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), as of July 2010, all nurses in Australia are required to have professional indemnity insurance in place.

You may be offered some level of cover under your employer’s professional indemnity policy, but it’s also a good idea to take out cover for yourself. Some professional associations offer professional indemnity cover to members, while you can also take out a policy from an insurance provider.

Professional indemnity insurance offers financial protection against the many risks nurses face, ensuring they can simply perform their vital jobs without having to worry about the damage their finances and careers would suffer if something went wrong.

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Professional indemnity insurance is a crucial form of cover for many individuals and business across a variety of industries. Professional indemnity insurance is designed for professionals who offer their expert advice and services to clients in return for a fee. During the course of offering advice to a client, it’s possible that you may make a mistake or omit an important piece of information that could result in your client suffering a physical, material or financial loss.

If that happens, your client may launch legal action to seek compensation for the loss they have suffered. In such cases, a claim of negligence or of breaching your professional duty may be brought against you. Even if such a claim is false, you still have to defend yourself and may incur expensive legal costs. Then there’s the threat of costly compensation to consider, as well as the damage any legal action could do to your reputation or the public image of your business.

This is why professional indemnity insurance is such an essential form of cover. It provides cover for the cost of your legal defence, as well as for any compensation you may be legally liable to pay. In addition, it will also be able to help you hire public relations consultants to repair the damage done to your reputation.

Professional indemnity insurance offers crucial financial protection for your business. With this type of cover in place, you won’t need to worry about the financial impact on your business if something goes wrong in the future.

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What Does Professional Indemnity Insurance Usually Cover?

Professional indemnity insurance offers vital financial protection for nurses. While cover obviously differs from one policy to the next, most policies will generally provide cover for the following incidents:

  • If you are sued for malpractice or negligence
  • If you are sued for damages as a result of a public liability claim
  • If, in connection to your work, you are sued for defamation, libel or slander
  • If you are sued for breaching intellectual property rights
  • If you are called upon to appear before the Coroner
  • If you are reported to AHPRA
  • If you are sued after performing a Good Samaritan Act.

Policies will provide cover for the cost of your legal defence, as well as compensation for your time required to attend court or an inquiry. If you are required to pay compensation or damages, this is catered for under a professional indemnity policy as well, as is the cost of hiring a public relations consultant to limit or repair any damage to your reputation.

In order to determine exactly what is covered under a professional indemnity insurance policy, read its product disclosure statement closely.

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How Much Professional Indemnity Insurance Does a Nurse Need?

The cost of professional indemnity insurance will obviously vary from one provider to the next, though there are other factors that can impact on the cost of your premiums. For example, a registered nurse can perform many different duties to a mental health nurse or a nurse who works in a non-hospital environment, exposing them to a different range of risks to others. As a general rule, the more risks you are exposed to, the more you’ll have to pay for cover.

How much insurance cover you take out will also influence how much you have to pay for your premiums. $1 million is commonly listed as the minimum amount of professional indemnity cover available, while on average the limit for most policies is around the $10 million mark. However, there are policies available that offer up to $20 million coverage.

When deciding how much cover you need, remember that you will be liable to cover any claims that exceed the limit of indemnity on your policy. You may think that it’s unlikely a claim will ever be made against you, but all it takes is one mistake that can have serious consequences. How much would you be able to afford to pay if you were taken to court? Take care to make sure you don’t end up under-insured.

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Choosing Professional Indemnity Insurance for Nurses

When you’re shopping for professional indemnity insurance cover, there are a number of tips and suggestions you should take into account. The first thing you should be aware of is that professional indemnity policies are provided on a claims made basis — this means that the insurance policy which will offer the protection you need is the one that is in force when a claim is actually made, not the policy which was in force when the act of negligence or malpractice occurred. As a result, you need to take your past work into account when applying for a policy, as well as considering having continuing coverage in place when you retire.

As with any important purchase, you should shop around when hunting for insurance cover. Compare policies at finder.com.au and seek out reviews from online resources. You can also seek advice from your colleagues as to their experience with insurers and professional indemnity coverage.

Obtain multiple quotes from a number of insurers and don’t be sucked in by the cheapest quote you see. You need to take the time to compare the features, benefits, limits and exclusions of each policy to better determine the true value of any quote.

If you need further assistance finding the right cover, seek expert and tailored advice from an insurance consultant.

Frequently Asked Questions About Professional Indemnity Insurance

Q. My employer has insurance coverage in place. Do I need to take out more?

  • A. Check with your employer to find out the exact level of cover they have in place. Many employer policies will only offer minimal coverage for their employees, so it’s often a good idea to take out protection for yourself.

Q. Should I buy insurance direct or through an adviser?

  • A. The approach you take to finding cover is entirely up to you. The benefits of buying professional indemnity insurance direct is that the application process is fast, simple and easy to understand. The downside is that some people don’t fully understand the ins and outs of this type of insurance policy and end up with an inadequate level of cover. Buying coverage through an insurance broker ensures you have access to expert advice that is tailored to your professional situation, so consider your decision carefully when taking out cover.

Q. How much will cover cost?

  • A. This will depend on a range of factors, including the nature of the work you do, the level of cover you take out, your insurer and the policy you choose. Compare your options to find the right policy for your needs.

Q. I’ve made a mistake and feel I could be the subject of a claim. What should I do?

  • A. You should notify your insurance provider as soon as you are made aware of any circumstances or events that may lead to a claim. This will ensure that you are covered.

Professional indemnity insurance offers essential coverage for a wide range of occupations, especially for nurses. With the unique and extensive range of risks nurses are exposed to, this type of cover offers the protection you need to ensure your financial strength and career survival if you are ever accused of breaching your professional duty.

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4 Responses to Professional Indemnity Insurance for Nurses

  1. Default Gravatar
    Amanda | November 23, 2015

    Do these cover ‘workers compensation in accordance with the state/territory legislation’ as required by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses?

    • Staff
      Richard | November 23, 2015

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and none of the insurers in our panel handle enquiries provide quotes for professional indemnity insurance for nurses as it is provided through their industry association.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  2. Default Gravatar
    Perminder | August 31, 2015

    Do I need Professional indemnity insurance before registration with AHPRA.

    • Staff
      Richard | August 31, 2015

      Hi Perminder,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. You would need to check these requirements with AHPRA. You may find the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Guidelines for registration standards useful.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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