Do all nurses need professional indemnity insurance?
YES! It is a requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) that nurses and midwives must not practise their professions unless they are covered in the conduct of their practice by appropriate professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements.
When applying for registration or renewal of registration, nurses and midwives will be required to declare that appropriate PII arrangements are, or will be, in place while they practise nursing or midwifery.
Nurses and midwives who hold private insurance cover in their own name are required to retain documentary evidence of their insurance and to provide it to the Board on request.
Nurses and midwives in a genuine employment or student relationship would be covered vicariously by the employer’s or education institution’s insurance. It is the nurse or midwife’s responsibility to understand the nature of the cover under which they are practising.
Nurses and midwives in different types of practice will require different levels of professional indemnity cover according to their individual scope of practice and risk.
The Board encourages practitioners who are assessing whether they have appropriate professional indemnity arrangements in place to consider:
- the practice setting and the type of services and care delivered
- the patient or client group
- advice from professional indemnity insurers, professional associations and industrial organisations
- current employment status.
Self-employed nurses and midwives are also required to have run-off cover, except those midwives practising privately who are exempt under the National Law.
More information on the Board’s requirement for professional indemnity insurance is available on the Board’s website: www.ahpra.gov.au
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has published the following guideline on professional indemnity insurance (PII). Please refer to the table labelled 'Nurses' under Codes and guidelines on the National Board website
If I am employed, do I to take out my own professional indemnity insurance?
Even if you are an employee, you should consider obtaining professional indemnity insurance cover. It is generally considered that any person or company that is providing a professional service, supplies specialist advice or possesses a specialist skill that is relied upon by another - should have some form of professional indemnity.
What if I provide services under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program?
Nurses who are engaged to deliver services under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program must be aware of and ensure they meet the insurance requirements for that program which are:
- Workers compensation in accordance with the state/territory legislation
- Public liability insurance of not less than $10 million.
- Professional indemnity insurance of not less than $10 million for clinical and non-clinical work
- Vicarious liability cover of not less than $1 million where the mental health nurse is an employee
If the mental health nurse is an employee, they should ensure their employer’s insurance covers their mental health nursing practice.
More information about the requirements of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program is available from the Medicare Australia website.
Nurses and midwives who hold private insurance cover in their own name are required to retain documentary evidence of their insurance and to provide it to the NMBA on request.
Where can I obtain insurance cover?
The ACMHN does not endorse or recommend any particular insurer. There are many different insurers you can go with, providing a range of insurance products. We recommend that you do a comprehensive search to ensure that you are getting the best deal and meeting your insurance requirements.
You may like to ask fellow mental health nurses via our Nursing eList. You can do this via http://www.acmhn.org/members-area/join-our-e-lists
Professional indemnity insurance
Professional indemnity insurance provides financial protection in the event that someone makes a claim against you in your capacity as a professional e.g. a claim against you might be made as a result of a negligent act, error or omission.
This type of insurance is available to practitioners and organisations across a range of industries and covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim, as well as any damages payable. Some government organisations under policies of the owning government are self-insured for the same range of matters.
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance protects a business' against claims made for personal injury or property damage if the business is found to be negligent. E.g. Nurses who provide services in a private practice, or under MHNIP but using their own rooms will be required to take out Public Liability Insurance.
Run-off cover means insurance that protects a practitioner who has ceased a particular practice or business against claims that arise out of activities which occurred when he or she was conducting that practice or business. This type of cover may be included in a PII policy or may need to be purchased separately.