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Medical Malpractice Insurance: All You Need To Know

The nature of the medical profession, combined with the myriad scenarios where negligence or malpractice may occur, means that medical malpractice insurance is essential should anything go wrong in the emergency room or practice.

What is medical malpractice insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance, or professional indemnity insurance, provides cover for healthcare professions and facilities when a doctor or other healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury, death, pain, suffering or disability to a patient. Negligence may be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, post-procedure care or health management.

Medical malpractice in the South African context

With South Africa becoming an increasingly litigious society, the risk exposure of medical professionals to malpractice is higher than ever before. According to the Medical Protection Casebook, medical malpractice complaints to the HPCSA rose by 100% between 2006 and 2016. This has largely been driven by legal practitioners who act on a contingency basis and share in the proceeds of any recovery made. This, together with the fact that there is limited competition within the medical malpractice insurance space, has caused premiums to skyrocket.

Top medical malpractice causes

  • Increased patient awareness
  • A decline in the standard of healthcare
  • Wrongful life claims – where parents of a disabled child, sue a medical practitioner on behalf of their child for damages incurred at birth
  • Wrongful birth claims – where parents sue a medical practitioner for damages due to the failure of the medical practitioner to properly diagnose defects or advise the parents of the potential birth defects of a child, resulting in the birth of an unwanted, disabled child
  • Cerebral palsy, down syndrome and birth defect claims

Types of medical malpractice cover:

  • A claims-made policy is an insurance policy that covers an insured person for claims made and notified on active policies, regardless of when the claim event occurred, provided the event arose after the retroactive date contained in the schedule.
  •  An occurrence policy covers claims made for injuries sustained during the life of an insurance policy, even if they’re filed after the policy is cancelled. They cater specifically to events that may cause injury of damage years after they occur, such as exposure to hazardous chemicals.  

What Indwe offers

Indwe has partnered with MC de Villiers Brokers (FSP no. 7241) to offer a market-leading medical malpractice solution for our clients in the medical industry. Our partnership enables us to provide best-value medical malpractice advice and ensures that our clients enjoy market-related cover with competitive premiums. When it comes to claims, we ensure that they are managed swiftly and notification of claims are lodged with the insurer immediately. This gives the policyholder total peace of mind throughout the claims management process.