Commencing 1 July 2010, and co-inciding with National Registration, the Federal Government put in place the Federal Government insurance Scheme for privately practising midwives.
MIGA tendered for and was successful in being selected as the sole provider of insurance in Australia for the Midwives Insurance Scheme and operates the Scheme on behalf of the Commonwealth.
Under the arrangement with the Commonwealth, MIGA issues insurance policies, manages all claims under the policy, irrespective of the amount of the claim, and offers risk management training to enhance the safety and quality of midwifery care.
We believe the Government's initiatives have a significant and positive impact on the level of protections and affordability of professional indemnity insurance for eligible privately practising midwives.
An outline of the key components of the Federal Government's Scheme is provided below.
The maximum cost of insurance for a full time privately practising midwife is fixed by agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia at $7,500. This is reduced for midwives who work less than a full-time caseload (ie fewer than 40 women per year).
Claims involving babies are often resolved for large sums mainly because of the long-term care costs that are required (it is not uncommon for claims to be resolved for between around $3m to $6m with the highest reported amount awarded against a health practitioner in a birth related case in Australia being in excess of $11m).
Insurance cover under the Government supported scheme offered by MIGA is provided for an unlimited amount. The policy does not require you to choose between different amounts of cover. This provides midwives with excellent protection and means that you don't have to worry about being personally exposed to a claim that exceeds your policy limit.
Professional indemnity insurance is provided on a claims made basis - this means that your policy will only cover you for claims that are made and repoted to MIGA while you have a current insurance policy with us. If, in the future, you no longer need the insurance because you have ceased private midwifery practice, you may require insurance to cover your prior practice. This type of cover is called 'run-off cover'.
Run-off cover insures you for claims made in the future which relate to incidents that occurred in your prior practice. You need to maintain run-off cover for the whole thime that you have ceased practice in order to be protected against claims that may arise in the future.
The Run-Off Cover Scheme (ROCS) is a Federal Government Scheme providing Eligible Midwives with access to free and unlimited run-off cover when they:
- Reach 65 years of age or more and have retired permanently from private practice as an Eligible Midwife
- cease practice as an Eligible Midwife because of permanent disability
- are under 65 years of age and have not engaged in private practice as an Eligible Midwife for at least 3 years (whether practising solely as an indemnified employee or no longer practising at all)
- cease practice (temporarily or permanently) as an Eligible Midwife because of maternity, or
- are deceased (in which case cover is provided to your legal personal representative).
By way of example, this means that if a midwife goes on maternity leave or becomes disabled, they don't have to worry about paying for run-off cover as they will be eligible for ROCS.
ROCS is funded by a charge on your insurance with MIGA (10% of the premium) which is payable to the Commonwealth Government to fund the benefit.
Access to this benefit is only available via the policy from MIGA.