COVID-19 Government indemnity scheme and vaccines information
Introduction | Chairs' message | Managing Director's report | Financial strength | Mutual rewards
I’m pleased to say Avant is in great shape to continue to deliver on its mission to defend, support, advise and protect members.
Despite turbulent financial markets and rising civil litigation against doctors, Avant achieved a solid financial result in 2018-19, on the back of better-than-expected medical indemnity and Doctors’ Health Fund financial results.
As a mutual, Avant exists solely to benefit members; we don’t have shareholders who we need to pay. A good financial result enables us to keep premium rates down and distribute back to members via our Retirement Reward and Loyalty Reward programs. Our mutuality should give members confidence that we will seek to act in their best interests.
More than half of all Australian doctors are Avant members and this is continuing to grow. We welcomed more than 6,100 members to Avant in 2018-19 and now have more doctor members than ever. This success is the result of being a member-owned organisation steadfastly focused on serving our members, being true to our mutual roots.
On the medical indemnity front, there has been a number of large civil compensation cases finalised during the financial year. We are still seeing a high level of regulatory complaints in NSW, which is considerably outstripping the other states. We have also seen an increasing rate of civil litigation against doctors, up more than 25% compared to five years ago. Despite this, claims results were better than had been forecast, due to more favourable court and out-of-court outcomes.
Experience tells us that the medical indemnity environment is volatile. For this reason, Avant holds significant levels of capital reserves, as reflected in Avant’s strong net asset position. We are in great financial shape.
The strategy to diversify Avant’s business is continuing as this is another way to manage Avant’s risk over the medium term. A more diversified business model is more resilient against the volatility expected from the medical indemnity sector.
Doctors’ Health Fund has had an outstanding year and was the fastest growing private health insurer in Australia. It is a closed fund focused on doctors, which is a key element in its ability to deliver for members. The Doctors’ Health Fund team has worked hard to implement changes in line with the Federal Government’s Private Health Insurance reforms, which came into effect in 2019. The new classifications make market comparison simpler.
Our life insurance, business insurance and travel insurance continue to gain momentum – it is great to see these products resonating with our members.
We are pleased with the feedback on the PracticeHub cloud platform, which is growing strongly.
In line with our policy for orderly rotation of board members, our immediate past Avant Mutual Chair, Prof Simon Willcock, is not seeking re-election at the upcoming election. Simon has been a great Chair for Avant and a wonderful support for me. His pragmatism, ability to relate to members and passion for advancing medical practice will be missed. I thank Simon for his enormous contribution and strong leadership over his 13 years on the board and five years as Chair.
We welcomed Dr Beverley Rowbotham as the new Chair of the Avant Board on 1 July 2019. Beverley is a haematologist residing in Brisbane, and has been a strong contributor and director on the board since 2010.
My thanks go to our staff across Australia – we wouldn’t have been able to do what we do for members without your expertise, experience and commitment. Thank you for your professionalism.