Thank you for choosing to be a part of MDA National

We’re committed to providing our Members with unwavering care and support in the moments that matter, so you can keep on practising with confidence.

Having certainty about the protection of your professional reputation is important. We’ve created this guide to let you know more about why medical indemnity premiums are increasing, advice on ways to reduce the risk of a claim being made against you and why choose MDA National.

Find out more about why medical indemnity claims are on the rise and the impacts on insurance premiums here

 

What can you do to reduce the risk of a claim being brought against you? 

We have identified the common themes we see in claims to help you to reduce your risk.

Find out more here

Why MDA National?

While it may be tempting to change indemnity providers following an increase in your current premium, there are some important things to consider.

With the persistent increase in frequency and rising cost of claims, there has never been a more crucial time to have a strong, caring, reputable medical defence organisation by your side, who will protect your reputation in the event of a claim being made against you.

Our immediate priority will always be to provide timely, practical and expert medico-legal support and advice, when you need it most.  With MDA National, you have the support of industry-leading doctors, lawyers and medical defence experts who are just a click or phone call away. Our highly experienced team are always ready and available to provide you with personalised medico-legal advice—on call in emergencies.

Providing protection to our Members for over 95 years, we remain committed to supporting you in the moments that matter, so you can keep on practising with confidence and providing outstanding patient care.

  • Expert medico-legal advice
  • Individualised support
  • Unwavering Member care
  • Comprehensive protection
  • Owned by Members, run for Members

By your side today, and into the future. 

Read what our Members say about us!

Right level of cover


FAQs


We are not able to provide your exact premium at this time. The total amount payable for your Membership and Professional Indemnity Insurance renewal offer will be sent to you by the end of May 2021.

We were able to provide the support our Members needed during the challenges of COVID-19, and hold our pricing steady, due to our strong financial position. Our pricing is assessed every year with consideration given to the current assessment of claims experience. Given the rise in cost and frequency of claims, it is no longer prudent to hold pricing steady. The current assessment (taking into account a range of factors such as; changes in claims liabilities, anticipated investment returns and economic conditions) determines the upcoming premium required.

It is appropriate that we charge adequate premiums now, to ensure a full premium pool for future claims. 

There are a few things to think about before deciding to switch insurers:

  1. Whenever you switch insurers, make sure you give full consideration to circumstances in your past that could give rise to a claim. You should notify your insurer in writing of these matters while your policy is still valid.
  2. Make sure you understand if the premium you are being quoted is like for like, including if it is an introductory or discounted offer. Sometimes doctors will see low premiums rise quickly.
  3. Ensure the new insurer knows about any claims or investigations you have had and ensure your retroactive cover is right for you.
  4. Make sure the policy provides the same or similar cover including the ancillary covers, the policy limits and sub-limits and retroactive cover.
  5. Finally, make sure you are comfortable with the service being provided by your insurer. With the claims frequency increasing, it is even more important now to be confident in your claims team, and indeed, all the services provided by your insurer such as risk services, education and general ease of doing business with.

Our premiums are reviewed each year and take into account a range of risk factors and changes happening in the medical indemnity landscape.

We are here to protect your reputation should something go wrong. You might save in the short term, but if something goes wrong, and you're unable to practice, the dollar and reputational impact could be far more significant.

Our Cases Committee members have provided tips on ways to reduce your risk of receiving a claim against you here  

We offer a range of payment options including quarterly and monthly instalments.  All payment options will be outlined in your Renewal Notice. 

Additionally, if your premium exceeds 7.5% of your private gross annual billings, you may be eligible for the Australian Government's Premium Support Scheme (PSS) which has been established to assist eligible medical practitioners to meet the costs of their medical indemnity insurance.

If you wish to know if you are eligible, or have any other questions regarding the PSS, please contact our Member Services team on 1800 011 255 or at peaceofmind@mdanational.com.au

PSS Calculator

We will also consider requests for broader financial assistance in meeting premium payments on a case-by-case basis. 

 

We’re increasing our medical indemnity insurance premiums
— important things you need to know.

 

The decision to increase premiums has been driven by an escalation in medical negligence claims (frequency and costs).

This trend has impacted medical indemnity providers globally, and in Australia.

 

Why are medical indemnity claims on the rise?


 Claims paid   Doctors targeted Speciality specific 

Medical Inflation

We are seeing higher costs associated with long term care, which are built into claims settlements.                 

Social inflation

The medical profession has become a focus for a more litigious society supported by aggressive plaintiff lawyers operating on a no win, no fee basis.

Specialty specific

Increases in claims costs have been more pronounced in some specialties e.g., Neurosurgery, Bariatric surgery. 

Other factors

  • Increasing reinsurance costs globally, driven by adverse weather events, COVID-19 business disruption and the impact of social inflation across all insurance lines.
  • There is concern the industry will experience future medical negligence claims arising from the unprecedented operating environment that has existed through the COVID-19 pandemic.   

How medical indemnity works


Medical indemnity insurance works by pooling together all Member premiums. When a Member experiences a financial loss because of a claim that is brought against them (as defined by the Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy), they make a claim to MDA National to access the premium pool to cover the loss. 

 

Some Members may never need to make a claim, although data shows that at least 65% of doctors  will experience a claim at least once in their career.

 

 premium collection

Arrow

 Claims case Arrow   Claims cost paid
Premiums are collected and pooled together.   A claim is brought  against a Member.   Member makes a claim to access the premium pool.

 

  • Every Member benefits from the peace of mind knowing that the premium pool is full and they are protected if a claim is brought against them that results in financial loss.
  • Every Member has the opportunity to claim from the premium pool. 

 

A few things to be mindful of:

  • A claim includes a solicitor’s Writ, the need to respond to a complaint to Ahpra or other bodies, or an investigation initiated by a hospital.
  • Claims cover the costs associated with any payments to plaintiffs (e.g. patients) as well as legal costs associated with defending a case. 
  • A medical negligence claim can be brought against a doctor many years after the event that triggered the case has occurred. 
  • The need to make a claim is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of a doctor’s practice. Many cases are assessed as being above standard of care by doctors on MDA National's Cases Committees.

 

Understanding how we calculate premiums


Ensuring the premium pool is full to cover all future claims is important to providing peace of mind to all Members. This includes having adequate reserves or surplus funds above and beyond what is required to cover claims to cover Members in the event of any major unforeseen circumstances.

Premium pool

 

premium collection
Adequate reserves or surplus of funds above what is required to cover all unforeseen circumstances.   Collecting the right level of premium from all Members.

 

Determining what premium is required from Members collectively each year is based on what is required to:

 Claims case  operational costs

Investment income and loss

Cover the cost of claims 
(including projected claims costs).

Cover the operational costs of running the insurance business.

Adjustment for any income/loss that arises from investing the pool funds.


The premium individual Members contribute is not the same. There are several factors that broadly determine what is a fair contribution a Member should pay, based on the likelihood and potential cost of future claims they may require from the premium pool.

 

How your premium will be affected by increasing claims


As a doctor-owned organisation, MDA National’s number one priority will always be to cover and support all of our Members, today and well into the future.

MDA National prides itself on our financial strength and the strong capital reserves we have in place to protect Members against unprecedented events. In 2020, this enabled us to freeze premium increases to support Members impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions. 

This year, in the face of continuing high claims costs, it is appropriate and prudent to increase premiums, rather than rely on reserves to cover the future financial losses that would arise if we didn’t take action.

What would happen if we didn’t increase premiums?


 
Healthy reserves

Spent reserves

Increasing premiums now, ensures we maintain strong reserves to fully cover future claims, even in the face of unusual and unexpected situations.

If we did not increase premiums, then we would need to draw on our reserves.

Reducing the impacts on our Members


We continue to take steps to ensure that we reduce the impacts on our Members:
  • We have reduced our operating costs significantly in recent years (our expense ratio is now below industry standard). This has been done without impacting MDA National’s market-leading service offering.
  • We do not pay bonuses to staff.
  • We have introduced a more sophisticated, data-driven and granular pricing approach.
  • We have implemented an active program to manage and minimise the risk and future claims costs of those who have been identified as needing tailored assistance to manage their personal risk profile.
  • As a doctor-owned organisation, MDA National will continue to advocate through the Insurance Council of Australia and other bodies.         

 

Continuing to support you in the moments that matter


We have been protecting our Members with unwavering support and advice for over 95 years and want to ensure that we are able to continue this same level of support well into the future. 

Premium increases will not impact on the quality of service, advice and support MDA National provides. We exist solely to support and protect our Members, and to promote good medical practice. Our Members will continue to be at the heart of everything that we do.

Relevant. Responsive. Confidential. Always by your side.

As an MDA National Member, if you have a claim brought against you, we will be with you every step of the way. 

Tips on how to manage your risk.

 

MDA National has helped over 42,000 Members with medico-legal advice in the last 5 years. 

 

What happens next?

We want you (our Members) to be confident in the future of our mutual and the personalised service, advice and support we offer. You will receive your renewal notice by the end of May 2021. In the meantime if you have any questions, please contact us at peaceofmind@mdanational.com.au