Indemnity Insurance

Indemnity Insurance – The Thing We All Need But Hope We Never Have To Use!

10 October 2020

So how many doctors do have to use the thing they never wanted to have to? 

By “use” we don’t mean simply seeking information or advice on a potential case or to get some tricky situation handled well so it doesn’t become a case.  That is work NZMII does every day to keep doctors safe to practice by addressing issues before trouble arises.

Some numbers that might interest you from those of us insured by NZ Medical Indemnity Insurance.

We are halfway through the financial year and so far have had:

  • 51 new claims notified by RMOs,
  • 48 from SMOs and
  • 11 from GPs.

To compare with a non COVID time, in the same period last year we had the same number from RMOs (51), less (37) from SMOs but 3 times more from GPs with 39 new cases notified in the March to September 2019 period.

The variability reflects the ebb and flow of indemnity cases being notified to doctors.  Most cases arise within a year of the event occurring but a few do arise up to 2 years later.

What types of cases arise?

For all categories of doctors, treatment problems are the largest cause of claims.  20% of RMO claims fall into this category and 27% of SMO and GP claims.  This covers when treatment has not been successful or there has been an issue arise out of treatment that is perceived by the patient to be incorrect.  But these claims, whilst common are not terribly expensive largely because, assuming the clinical record has been recorded appropriately, it is a matter of objective evidence.  15% of our costs for RMOs are paid in defence of these claims (compared to the 20% prevalence).

The “expensive” cases are those that involve defending professional competence allegations.  Whilst only representing 9% of SMO and GP claims, defending in front of the MCNZ takes up 52% of the total money spent.  For RMOs professional competence claims represent 10% of the total but still amount to 31% of the overall costs spent defending you.  Whilst a lot less cost than the SMO claims (as you would expect) they are still considerable: at present the most expensive RMO claim has topped $200,000 and is ongoing.

View RDA indemnity resources here

View the NZMPI website here.

Read about issues regarding disclosure of patient records
Download the NZMPI Medical Complaint Survival Guide

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