Medical & Health

Recent months have brought relentless uncertainty and change to our lives, and the world of medicine has been far from immune. With the gradual resumption of elective surgeries, some promising winds of (more) change have surfaced, but for the majority of physicians, the question of “When will my business return to pre-pandemic levels?” remains. With surgical admissions sitting at record-breaking lows, and FY21 looming, the need for sound advice on individual medical indemnity policies has never been more critical.

 

I’m a medical practitioner…

How does indemnity insurance advice work?

Medical defence organisations within Australia (MDO) Avant, NDA National, MIPS, MIGA are only permitted to provide general advice. The onus of responsibility is on the practitioner to ensure they have the correct billings, and they declare their activities correctly. If such details are incorrect, the practitioner’s policy may not respond.

 

My revenue has plummeted – how should my insurance respond?

In recent months of lockdown, many specialist practitioners have experienced major reductions in revenue, with no clear sign of when this might abate. Accordingly, now is the time for practitioners to review their indemnity insurance cover and revisit the market to secure a policy truly tailored to their ‘new norm’ needs.

 

Should I go direct to insurers? 

Liaising directly with insurers can be problematic for practitioners in the following ways:

  • Missing out on policy features or incentives from other providers which might be better suited to their operations
  • Failure to update their underwriting information, which may result in gaps in cover due to the following:
    • Increased or decreased billings are often unaccounted for on renewal policies and simply ‘rolled over’ on expiring terms
    • The practitioner’s billings in the Public and Private sector not being correctly allocated
    • A practitioner’s ‘retroactive’ date may be incorrectly recorded or amended over the years without them knowing
    • The practitioner’s work/category of practice may have changed over the insured period
    • An inadequate appraisal of key considerations such as whether the doctor is performing tasks outside of categories stated on the policy, or whether they have plans to move into a new category over the coming months. 

 

Cashflow management

Healthy cashflow is critical to any successful business, so it’s important to understand the options available to support your financial viability through this phase. A robust cashflow management plan will provide the critical foundations from which your business can function, survive and potentially even thrive through COVID-19 and beyond. As businesses continue to face challenging financial circumstances, efforts should be made to avoid paying large insurance premiums upfront. We recommend exploring all options with your broker to secure the best solution for your business through 2020 and beyond.

 

I’ve been with my insurer for a while – won’t they reward me for this?

Unfortunately loyalty does not always equal enhancements. We often see little to no flexibility on premiums, or hidden clauses within policies which don’t favour the practitioner.

 

Won’t changing providers be a headache? 

Many practitioners fear switching providers due to potential penalty, but this is one of many myths around the process which deserve debunking.

 

What are my options? 

Medical indemnity products in Australia offer fantastic coverage for doctors. Whilst the coverage options are quite similar, slight nuances in policy wordings can make a huge difference. How MDOs handle claims is an equally critical consideration; without adequate discretion, detail and care, a practitioner’s reputation and / or future earning potential can be quickly compromised.

 

General vs specialist insurance advice…

As with medical advice, the quality of advice available to support practitioners with their insurance options varies greatly. Working with a trusted, specialised broker can not only deliver a sharper, truly tailored policy for your business, but peace of mind. General advice is general, and if doctors are looking for more certainty in uncertain times, a medical indemnity specialist means you have a powerful asset at the ready.

 

Honan – Specialist advice 

At no additional cost to practitioners for the individual medical indemnity, Honan is proud to offer a range of services to support medical physicians with their insurance. From individual medical indemnity insurance to life and salary protection, we also offer medical providers unlimited access to our private client division for assistance with general insurance as well. A one-stop shop means our clients receive top advice, certainty, and it saves you time and money.

Our appraisal of your business will include a detailed report of our recommendations, including a forensic analysis of wordings and claims management for each provider. We’re a completely independent, objective broker committed to serving the best interests of the medical physician at all times.

 

With you all the way

From understanding the challenges faced by medical physicians, and advising on how to prepare for the future, we are only a call or email away.

Our Honan team is ready to support you with a comprehensive review of your individual medical indemnity policy, to mitigate your risk and secure the cover you need to operate with confidence through the months and years ahead.

We look forward to working with you.

 

 

Trent Woodward – Head of Client Service (SA) – Corporate Insurance & Risk Solutions

Industry Leader – Health & Medical

trent.woodward@honan.com.au

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