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.

When you switch medical indemnity insurers your new insurer will ask you to nominate a retroactive date. You should maintain the same retroactive 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. If this is noted on your policy schedule, it means that you don’t need to worry about choosing the wrong retroactive date as we will provide this cover for your past practice back to when claims made was introduced in your state, or when you first started practising. It takes the worry out of it for you. 

You have a policy with your previous medical indemnity insurance provider
You switch insurers
You have a policy with your new medical indemnity insurance provider
  • May 2017
    Your nominated retroactive date is when you first became registered to practise medicine
  • April 2018
    You notify your insurer of an incident that could lead to a claim
June 2019
You switch insurers, maintaining your nominated retroactive date of May 2017
February 2020
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 date); and

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

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.


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 2021.

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