Retroactive Cover

Retroactive Cover

Summary:
This guide gives you important information about retroactive cover, also known as ‘tail’ cover. That is your cover for liability arising from the healthcare you provided in the past.

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Cover for your past practice: Retroactive cover

It is important that you have insurance in place to cover you for liability arising from the healthcare you have provided in the past. This type of insurance is often referred to as retroactive cover or ‘tail’ cover.

When you took out your medical indemnity insurance policy you would have been asked to nominate a retroactive cover date. This is usually the date you first began practising as a doctor.

Retroactive cover is protection for the healthcare you provided after your retroactive cover date and before the start date of your current medical indemnity insurance policy.

It is a requirement of your Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration that you have appropriate retroactive cover in place if you have:

  • undertaken healthcare activities in the past
  • had a ‘claims made and notified’ professional indemnity policy in the past
  • had periods when you had no professional indemnity cover or were not indemnified by your employer or a government indemnity scheme
  • had periods when you were uninsured
  • doubts about the adequacy of the insurance or indemnity cover you hold.
 

What happens to my retroactive cover if I switch indemnity insurers?

When you switch medical indemnity insurers your new insurer will ask you to nominate a retroactive cover date. You should maintain the same retroactive cover date that you have with your current insurer, which you can find on your current policy schedule. This is to ensure that there are no gaps in your cover.

Generally, your previous medical indemnity insurer will cover you for any claim which has resulted from an event that you notified them of when you were insured with them. Your new medical indemnity insurer will cover you for unknown claims. They will cover you for claims, or facts that might result in a claim, for incidents that occurred after your retroactive date that you are made aware of after you joined your new insurer.

Avant offers unlimited retroactive cover, which is determined on a case-by-case basis. This means that even though you have a retroactive date, you will still be covered for your past incidents that you were not aware of when you were with your previous insurer.

Example: What happens when you switch medical indemnity insurers

2015/2016
You have a policy with your previous medical indemnity insurance provider

2017
You switch insurers

2018/2019
You have a policy with your new medical indemnity insurance provider

May 2015
Your nominated retroactive cover date is when you first became registered to practise medicine

April 2016
You notify your insurer of an incident that could lead to a claim

June 2017
You switch insurers, maintaining your nominated retroactive cover date of May 2015

February 2018
You become aware of a claim relating to healthcare you provided when you were with your previous insurer, and notify your current insurer about this claim.

Any incidents or claims which happen after May 2015 and are notified to your insurer during the policy period will be covered by that insurer. This includes cases where you notify the insurer of an incident during the policy period that later becomes a claim after you have switched insurance providers.

 

Your current policy will cover you for:

a) claims arising from healthcare that you provided since joining your new insurer (and after your retroactive cover date); and

b) claims arising from healthcare that you provided before you switched insurers (and after your retroactive cover date), provided that you did not know the incident would become a claim.

Will I be left uninsured?

Medical indemnity insurance policies generally have an exclusion whereby your new insurer may decline a claim that you have failed to notify to a previous insurer. If you knew about the claim before you changed your medical indemnity insurance provider, or if it is reasonable that you should have expected an event was likely to result in a claim, the claim may be declined by your new insurer.

Always notify your insurance company of any potential claims or concerns.

Download the Retroactive Cover fact sheet

Important: This publication is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal, medical or financial advice. You should seek legal, financial or other professional advice before relying on any content. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2015.


This guide gives you important information about retroactive cover, also known as ‘tail’ cover. That is your cover for liability arising from the healthcare you provided in the past.