Moving insurers: your questions answered

Jul 7, 2015

At Avant we want to help you understand your policy, and this includes how you’re covered when you’re in the process of switching insurers. The following Q&As – based on commonly asked questions – cover the key points that you will come across when making a switch. Avant hopes this brief guide will give you the clarity and reassurance you need.*

What does ‘claims made and notified’ mean?

If your policy is categorised as being ‘claims made and notified’ it means you are covered for claims made against you and which you notify to the insurer during the policy period. The incident or error need not have occurred during this policy period for the claim to be covered, but it must have occurred after the retroactive date.

It is really important that you notify your insurer of a potential claim as soon as it happens in order to ensure that you do not prejudice your cover.

What does a ‘retroactive date’ mean?

This is the date from which your work will be covered. So, an incident or error must have occurred after the retroactive date to constitute a valid claim under your policy. If it occurred prior to the retroactive date, it will not be covered.

To ensure you remain appropriately protected, it is very important that you nominate the correct retroactive date when you are moving insurers.    

If I have retroactive cover, am I covered for all past incidents?

You will not be covered for matters where you knew, or where a reasonable person in your position would have known, that a claim might result.

When moving insurers, you need to notify your current insurer of all incidents and possible matters that might result in a claim being made before the end of your policy period. Watch our short video on retroactive cover to find out more.   

What is run-off cover and how many years do I need to be covered for?

Run-off cover protects you after you move insurers or cease to practise, either temporarily or permanently. It extends the period of notification, so you are covered for claims made after you retire or move insurers arising from errors or incidents while you were still practising or with the previous insurer. The time period for run-off cover varies from member to member, depending on their individual needs and circumstances. Watch our short video about run-off cover to find out more information.        

What should I tell my current insurer before I move to another insurer?

Before you move insurers, it is important to notify your current insurer of all incidents and errors that could result in a claim being made. This includes:  

  • any request to refund fees or waive fees due to you   
  • any request you receive for a patient record   
  • any request you receive for a referral or second opinion, or if you become aware that a patient has sought a second opinion, or where you have advised the patient to seek a second opinion 
  • any termination of the doctor/patient relationship   
  • if you have been asked to attend a hospital review in relation to patient management   
  • any adverse outcome causing either harm or a complication to a patient, or anger from a patient (or their family)   
  • any claim, investigation or complaint that could be covered under your policy or relate to your conduct as a healthcare professional  
  • any investigation by your employer, a hospital you work at, area health authority, medical college or a statutory body that relates to your professional conduct.

Even if you remained on good terms with a patient and don’t expect them to make a complaint, it is still very important to tell your insurer about the issue or incident. After all, a cordial relationship is no guarantee that a patient will not make a claim in the future. 

If you want to learn how to join Australia’s leading medical defence organisation, please call Avant on 1800 128 268.
* IMPORTANT: Professional indemnity insurance products available from Avant Mutual Group Limited ABN 58 123 154 898 are issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765. The information provided here is general advice only. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before deciding to purchase or continuing to hold a policy with us. For full details, including the terms and conditions (and exclusions) that apply, please read and consider the policy wording and PDS, which is available at or by contacting us on 1800 128 268.

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