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Act No. 37 of 2003 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Medical and Midwife Indemnity Legislation Amendment Act 2019
An Act to make provision in relation to medical indemnity cover for health care professionals, and for related purposes
Administered by: Health; Treasury
Registered 29 Jul 2020
Start Date 01 Jul 2020

Commonwealth Coat of Arms of Australia

Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003

No. 37, 2003

Compilation No. 6

Compilation date:                              1 July 2020

Includes amendments up to:            Act No. 105, 2019

Registered:                                         29 July 2020

 

About this compilation

This compilation

This is a compilation of the Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003 that shows the text of the law as amended and in force on 1 July 2020 (the compilation date).

The notes at the end of this compilation (the endnotes) include information about amending laws and the amendment history of provisions of the compiled law.

Uncommenced amendments

The effect of uncommenced amendments is not shown in the text of the compiled law. Any uncommenced amendments affecting the law are accessible on the Legislation Register (www.legislation.gov.au). The details of amendments made up to, but not commenced at, the compilation date are underlined in the endnotes. For more information on any uncommenced amendments, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Application, saving and transitional provisions for provisions and amendments

If the operation of a provision or amendment of the compiled law is affected by an application, saving or transitional provision that is not included in this compilation, details are included in the endnotes.

Editorial changes

For more information about any editorial changes made in this compilation, see the endnotes.

Modifications

If the compiled law is modified by another law, the compiled law operates as modified but the modification does not amend the text of the law. Accordingly, this compilation does not show the text of the compiled law as modified. For more information on any modifications, see the series page on the Legislation Register for the compiled law.

Self‑repealing provisions

If a provision of the compiled law has been repealed in accordance with a provision of the law, details are included in the endnotes.

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Introductory                                                                                                           1

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                              1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 1

Division 2—Interpretation                                                                                         2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

5............ Providing medical indemnity cover..................................................... 8

6............ Claims‑made based cover and incident‑occurring based cover............ 9

7............ When certain death, disability and retirement arrangements are taken to be entered into           10

7A......... Reasonableness of premiums............................................................ 11

Division 3—Application of Act                                                                              13

8............ Application of Act............................................................................. 13

9............ Act extends to external Territories..................................................... 13

Part 2—Prudential requirements for provision of medical indemnity cover        14

10.......... Medical indemnity cover to be provided only by general insurers and only under contracts of insurance                14

11.......... Intermediary’s responsibilities.......................................................... 15

Part 3—Product standards for medical indemnity insurance contracts  17

Division 1—Minimum cover                                                                                   17

16.......... Minimum cover amount.................................................................... 17

17.......... Minimum cover for single claim....................................................... 17

18.......... Minimum annual cover—incident‑occurring based cover................. 19

19.......... Minimum annual cover—other cover................................................ 21

20.......... Amount payable by insurer............................................................... 23

Division 2—Offers to provide retroactive and run‑off cover for otherwise uncovered prior incidents                                                                                                                      24

Subdivision A—Regulated insurance contracts                                                24

21.......... Regulated insurance contracts........................................................... 24

Subdivision B—Insurer’s responsibilities                                                          25

22.......... Additional offer of retroactive cover when regulated insurance contract entered into, comes into effect or is renewed.......................................................................................................... 25

23.......... Additional offer of run‑off cover when particular events happen during claims period for regulated insurance contract.......................................................................................................... 30

24.......... Complying offer................................................................................ 34

26.......... Federal Court may order insurer to make offer................................. 37

Division 2A—Provision of run‑off cover to certain medical practitioners          38

26A....... Provision of run‑off cover to certain medical practitioners................ 38

26B....... Medical practitioners provided with medical indemnity cover by MDOs, but not adequate run‑off cover               41

26C....... Provision of run‑off in accordance with arrangements with MDOs. 43

26D....... Notification and record‑keeping........................................................ 44

26E........ Run‑off cover taken to be provided under contract of insurance....... 45

26F........ Federal Court may order insurer to provide run‑off cover or MDO to enter into arrangement 46

26G....... Pecuniary penalties for offences against this Division...................... 46

Division 3—Intermediary’s responsibilities                                                    47

27.......... Intermediary’s responsibilities.......................................................... 47

Part 4—Administration                                                                                                    48

28.......... APRA to have general administration of Part 2................................ 48

29.......... APRA Act secrecy provisions apply................................................ 48

30.......... ASIC to have general administration of Part 3.................................. 48

Part 5—Miscellaneous                                                                                                       49

31.......... Anti‑avoidance measures.................................................................. 49

32.......... Act not to affect State and Territory laws.......................................... 50

33.......... Regulations....................................................................................... 50

Endnotes                                                                                                                                    51

Endnote 1—About the endnotes                                                                            51

Endnote 2—Abbreviation key                                                                                53

Endnote 3—Legislation history                                                                             54

Endnote 4—Amendment history                                                                           56


An Act to make provision in relation to medical indemnity cover for health care professionals, and for related purposes

Part 1Introductory

Division 1Preliminary

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003.

2  Commencement

                   This Act commences, or is taken to have commenced, on 1 July 2003.

3  Objects

                   The objects of this Act are:

                     (a)  to ensure that health care professionals have access to medical indemnity cover that is provided by properly regulated insurers; and

                     (b)  to specify minimum standards for medical indemnity cover that is provided to health care professionals.

Division 2Interpretation

4  Definitions

General

             (1)  In this Act:

APRA means the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

arrangement includes a contract of insurance.

ASIC means the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

breach the minimum cover rules has the meaning given by subsection (8).

Chief Executive Medicare has the same meaning as in the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973.

claim:

                     (a)  means a claim or demand of any kind (whether or not involving legal proceedings); and

                     (b)  includes proceedings of any kind including:

                              (i)  proceedings before an administrative tribunal or of an administrative nature; and

                             (ii)  disciplinary proceedings (including disciplinary proceedings conducted by or on behalf of a professional body); and

                            (iii)  an inquiry or investigation;

and claim against a person includes an inquiry into, or an investigation of, the person’s conduct.

claims‑made based cover has the meaning given by subsections 6(2) and (3).

claims period, in relation to a regulated insurance contract, has the meaning given by subsection 21(3).

client, in relation to a regulated insurance contract, has the meaning given by subsection 21(2).

come into effect, in relation to an arrangement, has the meaning given by subsection (4).

compensation claim means a claim for compensation or damages that is made against a health care professional in relation to a health care incident.

complying offer has the meaning given by section 24.

compulsory new contract offer, in relation to a new regulated insurance contract, means an offer under section 22.

compulsory offer period, in relation to an offer made under section 23, means the period referred to in paragraph 24(2)(b) in relation to the offer.

constitutional corporation means a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies.

enter into, in relation to certain arrangements, has a meaning affected by section 7.

entity means:

                     (a)  a body corporate; or

                     (b)  a partnership; or

                     (c)  any other unincorporated association or body of persons; or

                     (d)  a trust.

general insurer has the same meaning as in the Insurance Act 1973.

health care means any care, treatment, advice, service or goods provided in respect of the physical or mental health of a person.

health care incident, in relation to a health care professional, means an incident that occurs in the course of, or in connection with, the provision of health care by the health care professional.

health care professional:

                     (a)  means an individual who provides health care (whether for reward or not and whether as an employee, as part of a business or on some other basis); and

                     (b)  includes:

                              (i)  a medical practitioner; and

                             (ii)  a registered health professional.

incident includes:

                     (a)  any act, omission or circumstance; and

                     (b)  an incident that is claimed to have occurred.

incident‑occurring based cover has the meaning given by subsection 6(4).

indemnify has a meaning affected by subsection (2).

Lloyd’s underwriter has the same meaning as in the Insurance Act 1973.

MDO has the same meaning as in the Medical Indemnity Act 2002.

medical indemnity insurer has the same meaning as in the Medical Indemnity Act 2002.

medical practitioner means an individual registered or licensed as a medical practitioner under a State or Territory law that provides for the registration or licensing of medical practitioners.

minimum cover amount has the meaning given by section 16.

new regulated insurance contract means a regulated insurance contract to which section 22 applies.

otherwise uncovered prior incidents for a health care professional has the meaning given by subsection 21(4).

payable, in relation to a compensation claim, has the meaning given by subsection (7).

provide a financial service has the meaning given by section 766A of the Corporations Act 2001.

provide medical indemnity cover has the meaning given by section 5.

prudential standard means a standard determined by APRA under section 32 of the Insurance Act 1973.

registered health professional: an individual is a registered health professional if:

                     (a)  the individual practises a health care related vocation; and

                     (b)  the individual must be registered under a State or Territory law to practise that vocation.

regulated insurance contract has the meaning given by subsection 21(1).

relevant constitutional connection has the meaning given by subsection (6).

renew has the meaning given by subsection (5).

without medical indemnity cover has the meaning given by subsection (3).

Indemnify

             (2)  To avoid doubt, a person may, for the purposes of this Act, indemnify someone else by either:

                     (a)  making a payment; or

                     (b)  agreeing to make a payment.

Note:          A person may indemnify someone else by making a payment even if the payment was not preceded by an agreement to pay.

Without medical indemnity cover for a health care incident

             (3)  For the purposes of this Act, a health care professional is without medical indemnity cover for a health care incident if:

                     (a)  the health care incident occurs during a particular period; and

                     (b)  there is no arrangement under which the health care professional will, or may, be indemnified for compensation claims made against the health care professional in relation to health care incidents occurring during that period.

When arrangement comes into effect

             (4)  For the purposes of this Act, an arrangement under which a person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional comes into effect on the first day on which, under the arrangement, a claim against the person providing the cover may be made.

Renewal of arrangement

             (5)  For the purposes of this Act, an arrangement is renewed if:

                     (a)  the arrangement is renewed; or

                     (b)  the period of the arrangement is extended;

whether this happens:

                     (c)  because of action taken, or not taken, by a party or parties to the arrangement; or

                     (d)  automatically; or

                     (e)  by force of law.

Note:          For example, if renewable insurance cover is provided under a contract of insurance (the original contract), a further contract of insurance may exist between the parties to the original contract by force of subsection 58(3) of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984.

Relevant constitutional connection

             (6)  For the purposes of this Act, an arrangement has a relevant constitutional connection if:

                     (a)  the arrangement provides for insurance with respect to which the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws under paragraph 51(xiv) of the Constitution; or

                     (b)  the arrangement is entered into in the course of trade and commerce:

                              (i)  with other countries; or

                             (ii)  among the States; or

                            (iii)  between a State and a Territory; or

                     (c)  the arrangement is entered into in, or is governed by the laws of, a Territory.

Amount payable in relation to compensation claim

             (7)  For the purposes of this Act, the amount that is payable in relation to a compensation claim includes an amount that would be paid to meet legal and other expenses that are directly attributable to any negotiations, arbitration or proceedings in relation to the compensation claim.

Breaching the minimum cover rules

             (8)  For the purposes of this Act, a regulated insurance contract breaches the minimum cover rules if subsection 17(2), 18(3) or 19(3) applies to the regulated insurance contract.

Claim against health care professional during particular period

             (9)  A reference in this Act, in relation to:

                     (a)  a contract of insurance under which the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; or

                     (b)  an offer by an insurer to provide medical indemnity cover for a health care professional;

to a compensation claim against the health care professional being made, or having to be made, during a particular period is a reference to any one or more of the following happening, or having to happen, during that period:

                     (c)  the compensation claim being made against the health care professional;

                     (d)  the compensation claim being notified to the insurer;

                     (e)  the health care incident to which the compensation claim relates being notified to the insurer;

                      (f)  a claim being made against the insurer in relation to the compensation claim;

                     (g)  an event prescribed by the regulations.

References to health care professional

           (10)  A reference in this Act to a health care professional includes a reference to an individual who has been a health care professional at any time.

References to medical practitioner

           (11)  A reference in this Act to a medical practitioner includes a reference to an individual who has been a medical practitioner at any time.

References to registered health professional

           (12)  A reference in this Act to a registered health professional includes a reference to an individual who has been a registered health professional at any time.

5  Providing medical indemnity cover

             (1)  A person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional if, under an arrangement, the person must or may indemnify the health care professional in relation to claims that may be made against the health care professional in relation to health care incidents.

             (2)  The arrangement:

                     (a)  may be one under which the indemnity is provided at the person’s discretion; and

                     (b)  may be, but need not be, an arrangement between the person and the health care professional; and

                     (c)  may be:

                              (i)  one under which the health care professional is indemnified directly; or

                             (ii)  one under which the health care professional is indemnified indirectly through an entity or entities interposed between the person and the health care professional.

6  Claims‑made based cover and incident‑occurring based cover

             (1)  This section tells you what is meant by claims‑made based cover and incident‑occurring based cover when those terms are used in this Act. There are some kinds of medical indemnity cover that fall outside both those terms.

             (2)  For the purposes of this Act, the cover provided for by a contract of insurance is claims‑made based cover if:

                     (a)  under the contract, the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional in relation to a compensation claim against the health care professional in relation to a health care incident only if:

                              (i)  the incident occurs during a period specified in the contract (the incidents period); and

                             (ii)  the compensation claim is made against the health care professional during a period specified in the contract (the claims period); and

                     (b)  the incidents period is not a period that has ended before the claims period begins; and

                     (c)  the claims period is fixed.

Note 1:       Subparagraph (a)(ii)—subsection 4(9) operates on the reference in this subparagraph to the claim being made during a period.

Note 2:       Pure extended reporting benefit cover (which has a defined incidents period that ends before the claims period begins) does not qualify because of paragraph (b). Death, disability and retirement cover (which does not have a fixed claims period) does not qualify because of paragraph (c).

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the claims period for the contract is taken to be fixed even if the claims period is capable of being extended:

                     (a)  by agreement between the parties to the contract; or

                     (b)  by renewal of the contract.

             (4)  For the purposes of this Act, the cover provided for by a contract of insurance is incident‑occurring based cover if:

                     (a)  under the contract, the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional in relation to a compensation claim in relation to a health care incident only if the incident occurs during a period specified in the contract; and

                     (b)  under the contract, the insurer provides that medical indemnity cover:

                              (i)  regardless of when the compensation claim is made against the health care professional; and

                             (ii)  whether or not the health care professional has died, become permanently disabled or retired.

Note:          Extended reporting benefit cover (which has a fixed claims period) does not qualify because of subparagraph (b)(i) and death, disability and retirement cover does not qualify because of subparagraph (b)(ii).

7  When certain death, disability and retirement arrangements are taken to be entered into

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, if:

                     (a)  under an arrangement, a person (the cover provider) will or may provide medical indemnity cover of a particular kind for a health care professional; and

                     (b)  the cover provider will or may provide that cover only if:

                              (i)  a particular period has expired; and

                             (ii)  the health care professional dies, becomes permanently disabled or retires; and

                     (c)  the arrangement is not a contract of insurance;

the cover provider is taken to enter into the arrangement, to the extent to which it relates to that cover, at the earliest time at which:

                     (d)  there are no conditions that need to be satisfied for the cover to be provided for the health care professional; or

                     (e)  the only conditions that need to be satisfied for the cover to be provided for the health care professional are conditions that relate to:

                              (i)  payments being made to the cover provider for the cover; or

                             (ii)  the making of a claim against the cover provider under the arrangement.

             (2)  Without limiting subparagraph (1)(b)(i), the period referred to in that subparagraph may be specified as a minimum period during which the health care professional is a member of a particular body.

7A  Reasonableness of premiums

                   In deciding whether the premium payable by an insured under a contract of insurance for particular cover is reasonable, regard is to be had to:

                     (a)  the nature of the risks being assumed by the insurer; and

                     (b)  the claims handling expenses, and other administrative expenses, the insurer has incurred and can reasonably be expected to incur; and

                     (c)  the expenses the insurer can reasonably be expected to incur in obtaining appropriate reinsurance; and

                     (d)  the expenses the insurer can reasonably be expected to incur in capital raising and prudential compliance; and

                     (e)  the amount that represents a reasonable profit margin for the insurer; and

                      (f)  the amount of any relevant taxes or statutory charges payable by the insurer; and

                     (g)  the information provided, or not provided, to the insurer by the client in relation to matters relevant to assessing the risk being assumed by the insurer; and

                     (h)  the amount that represents provisioning for future liabilities for medical indemnity cover that may be required to be offered under section 23 for a premium that does not reflect the cost of providing that medical indemnity cover; and

                      (i)  the receipt, or probable receipt, of Commonwealth assistance in relation to provision of the medical indemnity cover; and

                      (j)  such other matters as are specified in regulations made for the purposes of this paragraph.

Division 3Application of Act

8  Application of Act

             (1)  This Act does not apply to State insurance (whether or not extending beyond the limits of the State concerned).

             (2)  This Act does not apply to:

                     (a)  an arrangement under which medical indemnity cover is provided by:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth, a public authority of the Commonwealth or an instrumentality or agency of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth; or

                             (ii)  a State, a public authority of a State or an instrumentality or agency of the Crown in right of a State; or

                            (iii)  a Territory, a public authority of a Territory or an instrumentality or agency of the Crown in right of a Territory; or

                     (b)  an arrangement under which medical indemnity cover is provided by a person to a health care professional who is an employee of the person; or

                     (c)  an arrangement under which medical indemnity cover is provided by an employer in relation to health care provided to the employer’s employees:

                              (i)  by an employee of the employer; or

                             (ii)  under a contract between the employer and the person providing the care; or

                     (d)  an arrangement under which medical indemnity cover is provided by a body corporate prescribed by the regulations; or

                     (e)  an arrangement of a kind prescribed by the regulations.

9  Act extends to external Territories

                   This Act extends to every external Territory.

Part 2Prudential requirements for provision of medical indemnity cover

10  Medical indemnity cover to be provided only by general insurers and only under contracts of insurance

             (1)  This subsection applies to a person if, on or after 1 July 2003:

                     (a)  the person:

                              (i)  offers to enter into; or

                             (ii)  invites an offer to enter into;

                            an arrangement under which the person would provide medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; or

                     (b)  the person enters into an arrangement under which the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; or

                     (c)  an arrangement under which the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional comes into effect; or

                     (d)  the person offers to renew an arrangement under which a person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; or

                     (e)  an arrangement under which the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional is renewed.

The relevant medical indemnity cover is the cover referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e).

             (2)  A person (the cover provider) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to the cover provider; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  the cover provider is a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  the cover provider is not a constitutional corporation but the arrangement has, or would have, a relevant constitutional connection; and

                     (c)  either:

                              (i)  the cover provider is neither a general insurer nor a Lloyd’s underwriter; or

                             (ii)  the relevant medical indemnity cover is not, or would not be, effected by means of a contract of insurance.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (3)  To avoid doubt:

                     (a)  paragraph (1)(a) applies to offers or invitations that are received in Australia or the external Territories:

                              (i)  regardless of where any resulting arrangement is entered into; and

                             (ii)  whether or not any resulting arrangement is governed by the laws of a State or Territory; and

                     (b)  paragraph (1)(d) applies to offers that are received in Australia or the external Territories:

                              (i)  regardless of where any resulting renewal takes place; and

                             (ii)  whether or not the arrangement is governed by the laws of a State or Territory.

11  Intermediary’s responsibilities

             (1)  A person (the intermediary) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the intermediary provides a financial service on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (b)  in the course of providing that service, the intermediary:

                              (i)  arranges, or offers to arrange, for someone to enter into or renew; or

                             (ii)  recommends that someone enter into or renew;

                            an arrangement under which a person (the cover provider) provides, or would provide, medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; and

                     (c)  either:

                              (i)  the cover provider is a constitutional corporation; or

                             (ii)  the arrangement has, or would have, a relevant constitutional connection; and

                     (d)  either:

                              (i)  the cover provider is neither a general insurer nor a Lloyd’s underwriter; or

                             (ii)  the arrangement is not, or would not be, effected by means of a contract of insurance.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  It does not matter whether the intermediary provides the financial service in the intermediary’s own right or as a representative of another person.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the intermediary commits the offence whether or not the cover provider commits, or would commit, an offence against subsection 10(2).

Part 3Product standards for medical indemnity insurance contracts

Division 1Minimum cover

16  Minimum cover amount

                   The minimum cover amount for the purposes of this Division is:

                     (a)  $5 million; or

                     (b)  such other amount as is prescribed by the regulations.

17  Minimum cover for single claim

Circumstances in which section applies

             (1)  This subsection applies to a person if:

                     (a)  under a contract of insurance (the relevant contract), the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; and

                     (b)  the health care professional is:

                              (i)  a medical practitioner; or

                             (ii)  a registered health professional prescribed by the regulations.

Offence

             (2)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to the insurer; and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  the maximum amount payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to a single compensation claim made against the health care professional would, but for subsection (4), be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (3)  Subsection (2) does not apply if it would be reasonable to assume, at the time the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed, that every health care incident to which the compensation claim would relate would be one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

Maximum amount payable for single claim

             (4)  If:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to a person (the insurer); and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  a compensation claim is made against the health care professional; and

                     (d)  an amount is payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the compensation claim; and

                     (e)  the maximum amount payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the compensation claim would, but for this subsection, be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time;

the maximum amount payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the compensation claim is the minimum cover amount applicable at that time (instead of the maximum amount provided for in the relevant contract).

             (5)  Subsection (4) does not apply if every health care incident to which the compensation claim relates is one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

             (6)  To avoid doubt, subsection (4) applies whether or not the insurer is convicted of an offence against subsection (2).

18  Minimum annual cover—incident‑occurring based cover

Circumstances in which section applies

             (1)  This subsection applies to a person if:

                     (a)  under a contract of insurance (the relevant contract), the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; and

                     (b)  the health care professional is:

                              (i)  a medical practitioner; or

                             (ii)  a registered health professional prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  the relevant contract provides for incident‑occurring based cover.

Note:          For incident‑occurring based cover, see subsection 6(4). For the purposes of this section, extended reporting benefit cover and death, disability and retirement cover are not incident‑occurring based cover.

             (2)  For the purposes of this section:

                     (a)  the qualifying incident period is the period during which a health care incident must occur for the person to provide medical indemnity cover under the relevant contract in relation to the incident; and

                     (b)  there is only one relevant period and it is the qualifying incident period if the qualifying incident period is a year or shorter than a year; and

                     (c)  the year starting at the beginning of the qualifying incident period, and each succeeding year or part of a year in the qualifying incident period, is a relevant period if the qualifying incident period is longer than a year.

Offence

             (3)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to the insurer; and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  the maximum amount payable, in aggregate, by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to all the compensation claims that are made against the health care professional in relation to health care incidents that occur during a particular relevant period would, but for subsection (5), be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply if it would be reasonable to assume, at the time the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed, that every health care incident to which the compensation claims would relate would be one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

Maximum amount payable for multiple claims

             (5)  If:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to a person (the insurer); and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  amounts are payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to 2 or more compensation claims (the multiple claims) that are made against the health care professional in relation to health care incidents that occur in a particular relevant period; and

                     (d)  the maximum amount payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the multiple claims would, but for this subsection, be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time;

the maximum amount payable, in aggregate, by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the multiple claims is the minimum cover amount applicable at that time (instead of the maximum amount provided for in the relevant contract).

             (6)  Subsection (5) does not apply if every health care incident to which the multiple claims relate is one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

             (7)  To avoid doubt, subsection (5) applies whether or not the insurer is convicted of an offence against subsection (3).

19  Minimum annual cover—other cover

Circumstances in which section applies

             (1)  This subsection applies to a person if:

                     (a)  under a contract of insurance (the relevant contract), the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; and

                     (b)  the health care professional is:

                              (i)  a medical practitioner; or

                             (ii)  a registered health professional prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  the contract does not provide for incident‑occurring based cover.

Note:          For incident‑occurring based cover, see subsection 6(4). For the purposes of this section, extended reporting benefit cover and death, disability and retirement cover are not incident‑occurring based cover.

             (2)  For the purposes of this section:

                     (a)  the qualifying claims period is the period specified in the relevant contract as the period during which a compensation claim against the health care professional has to be made for medical indemnity cover to be provided in relation to the compensation claim; and

                     (b)  there is only one relevant period and it is the qualifying claims period if the qualifying claims period is a year or shorter than a year; and

                     (c)  the year starting at the beginning of the qualifying claims period, and each succeeding year or part of a year in the qualifying claims period, is a relevant period if the qualifying claims period is longer than a year.

Note:          Paragraph (a)—subsection 4(9) operates on the reference in this paragraph to the claim having to be made during a period.

Offence

             (3)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to the insurer; and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  the maximum amount payable, in aggregate, by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to all the compensation claims that are made against the health care professional during a particular relevant period would, but for subsection (5), be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time.

Note:          Paragraph (c)—subsection 4(9) operates on the reference in this paragraph to the claim having to be made during a period.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (4)  Subsection (3) does not apply if it would be reasonable to assume, at the time the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed, that every health care incident to which the compensation claims would relate would be one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

Maximum amount payable for multiple claims

             (5)  If:

                     (a)  subsection (1) applies to a person (the insurer); and

                     (b)  the relevant contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed at a particular time on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (c)  amounts are payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to 2 or more compensation claims (the multiple claims) that are made against the health care professional during a particular relevant period; and

                     (d)  the maximum amount payable by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the multiple claims would, but for this subsection, be less than the minimum cover amount applicable at that time;

the maximum amount payable, in aggregate, by the insurer under the relevant contract in relation to the multiple claims is the minimum cover amount applicable at that time (instead of the maximum amount provided for in the relevant contract).

Note:          Paragraph (c)—subsection 4(9) operates on the reference in this paragraph to the claim having to be made during a period.

             (6)  Subsection (5) does not apply if every health care incident to which the multiple claims relate is one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

             (7)  To avoid doubt, subsection (5) applies whether or not the insurer is convicted of an offence against subsection (3).

20  Amount payable by insurer

                   To avoid doubt, in working out for the purposes of this Division the maximum amount payable by an insurer under a contract of insurance, disregard the following:

                     (a)  any right the insurer may have to a high cost claim indemnity under the Medical Indemnity Act 2002;

                    (aa)  any right the insurer may have to a run‑off cover indemnity under the Medical Indemnity Act 2002;

                   (ab)  any right the insurer may have to an allied health high cost claim indemnity under the Medical Indemnity Act 2002;

                     (b)  any right the insurer may have to contribution from another insurer;

                     (c)  any right to which the insurer is subrogated under the contract of insurance.

Division 2Offers to provide retroactive and run‑off cover for otherwise uncovered prior incidents

Subdivision ARegulated insurance contracts

21  Regulated insurance contracts

Regulated insurance contract

             (1)  For the purposes of this Division, a contract is a regulated insurance contract if:

                     (a)  the contract is a contract of insurance under which the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional in relation to compensation claims; and

                     (b)  the health care professional is:

                              (i)  a medical practitioner; or

                             (ii)  a registered health professional prescribed by the regulations; and

                     (c)  the cover provided for by the contract is claims‑made based cover; and

                     (d)  the contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed on or after 1 July 2003.

Note:          Paragraph (c)—for claims‑made based cover, see subsections 6(2) and (3). For the purposes of this section, extended reporting benefit cover and death, disability and retirement cover are not claims‑made based cover.

Client

             (2)  For the purposes of this Division, the client for the regulated insurance contract is the other party to the regulated insurance contract (who may be the health care professional or someone else).

Claims period

             (3)  For the purposes of this Division, the claims period for the regulated insurance contract is the period specified in the contract as the period during which a compensation claim against the health care professional has to be made for medical indemnity cover to be provided in relation to the compensation claim.

Note:          Subsection 4(9) operates on the reference to the claim having to be made during a period.

Health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents

             (4)  For the purposes of this Division, the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents for the regulated insurance contract are:

                     (a)  for an offer to be made under section 22—the health care incidents:

                              (i)  that occurred before the start of the claims period for the regulated insurance contract; and

                             (ii)  for which the health care professional would otherwise be without medical indemnity cover; and

                     (b)  for an offer to be made under section 23—the health care incidents:

                              (i)  that have occurred, or will occur, before the contract that arises from the offer would take effect; and

                             (ii)  for which the health care professional would otherwise be without medical indemnity cover.

Subdivision BInsurer’s responsibilities

22  Additional offer of retroactive cover when regulated insurance contract entered into, comes into effect or is renewed

Offence—compulsory offer

             (1)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  a regulated insurance contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed; and

                     (b)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not make an offer (the compulsory offer) to the client that satisfies all of the following subparagraphs:

                              (i)  the offer is an offer to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to all compensation claims that are made against the health care professional, during a period that includes the whole of the claims period for the regulated insurance contract, in relation to the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents;

                             (ii)  the offer is made at the same time as the insurer makes the offer or the invitation that leads to the regulated insurance contract or the renewal;

                            (iii)  the offer is a complying offer.

Note 1:       For complying offer, see section 24.

Note 2:       Subparagraph (c)(i)—subsection 4(9) operates on the reference in this subparagraph to the claims being made during a period.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

          (1A)  In determining whether an offer made by an insurer to provide medical indemnity cover for a health care professional satisfies subparagraph (1)(c)(i), disregard:

                     (a)  an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional; or

                     (b)  a compensation claim in relation to an incident of that kind;

if it is reasonable and appropriate for the insurer to exclude the incident or claim from the cover being offered, having regard to:

                     (c)  the nature of the health care provided by the health care professional during the period during which the otherwise uncovered prior incident occurred; and

                     (d)  the kinds of exclusions that are usually provided for in contracts of insurance that provide similar cover to the cover being offered; and

                     (e)  any other relevant consideration.

          (1B)  Strict liability applies to subparagraph (1)(c)(iii) to the extent that it relates to whether the premium referred to in paragraph 24(2)(f) is reasonable.

Note:          For strict liability, see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code.

Offence—entering into regulated insurance contract etc. before response to compulsory offer received

             (2)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  a regulated insurance contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed; and

                     (b)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  the regulated insurance contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed before the client has given the insurer a written response to the compulsory offer; and

                     (d)  the medical indemnity cover does not relate to all compensation claims that are made against the health care professional, during a period that includes the whole of the claims period for the regulated insurance contract, in relation to the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

Offence—record keeping

             (3)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  a regulated insurance contract is entered into, comes into effect or is renewed; and

                     (b)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not keep a copy of the following:

                              (i)  the compulsory offer;

                             (ii)  if the client gives the insurer a written response to the compulsory offer—that response;

                            (iii)  any other offer that the insurer makes to the client, while the compulsory offer is open for acceptance by the client, to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional;

                            (iv)  any invitations that the insurer makes to the client, while the compulsory offer is open for acceptance by the client, to make an offer to enter into a contract of insurance under which the insurer would provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional;

                            for the period of 5 years starting on the day on which the compulsory offer is made.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

Defences for offences against subsections (1), (2) and (3)

             (4)  Subsections (1), (2) and (3) do not apply if:

                     (a)  the regulated insurance contract provides medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to all the compensation claims referred to in paragraph (1)(c); or

                     (b)  the health care professional has no otherwise uncovered prior incidents; or

                     (c)  every health care incident covered by the regulated insurance contract is, or would be, one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

          (4A)  In determining whether a regulated insurance contract provides the cover referred to in paragraph (4)(a) for a health care professional, disregard:

                     (a)  an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional; or

                     (b)  a compensation claim in relation to an incident of that kind;

if it is reasonable and appropriate for the insurer to exclude the incident or claim from the cover provided by the contract, having regard to:

                     (c)  the nature of the health care provided by the health care professional during the period during which the otherwise uncovered prior incident occurred; and

                     (d)  the kinds of exclusions that are usually provided for in contracts of insurance that provide similar cover to the cover being offered; and

                     (e)  any other relevant consideration.

             (5)  Subsection (1) does not apply if:

                     (a)  the insurer makes an offer for the purposes of subsection (1); and

                     (b)  the only reason why the offer does not satisfy subparagraph (1)(c)(i) is that the offer does not extend to some of the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents; and

                     (c)  the insurer has reasonable grounds for believing that the offer does extend to all the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

Compulsory offer has no effect in certain circumstances

             (6)  A compulsory offer made by an insurer for the purposes of subsection (1) ceases to have effect if the winding up of the insurer starts before the offer is accepted.

Note:          An insurer must not carry on insurance business after the winding up of the insurer has started: see section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Effect of subsection (1)

             (7)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Note:          This means that an insurer does not have to make a compulsory offer for the purposes of subsection (1) once the winding up of the insurer has started.

23  Additional offer of run‑off cover when particular events happen during claims period for regulated insurance contract

Offence—compulsory offer

             (1)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under a regulated insurance contract; and

                     (b)  an event prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph occurs during the claims period for the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not make an offer (the compulsory offer) to the client that satisfies all of the following subparagraphs:

                              (i)  the offer is an offer to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to compensation claims that are made against the health care professional in relation to the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents and the offer satisfies the requirements specified in the regulations for the purposes of this subparagraph;

                             (ii)  the offer is made within 28 days after the insurer becomes aware of that event;

                            (iii)  the offer is a complying offer.

Note:          For complying offer, see section 24.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  Without limiting subparagraph (1)(c)(i), the regulations made for the purposes of that subparagraph may specify requirements in relation to:

                     (a)  the compensation claims to be covered by the contract being offered; and

                     (b)  the limits on the amounts payable by the insurer under the contract being offered (whether in relation to an individual compensation claim or in relation to compensation claims made during a particular period).

Without limiting paragraph (a), the regulations may specify the compensation claims by reference to the period during which the compensation claims can be made.

Offence—entering into new contract before response to compulsory offer received

          (2A)  For the purposes of making an offer to provide the cover referred to in subparagraph (1)(c)(i) for a health care professional, disregard the regulated insurance contract referred to in paragraph (1)(a) in determining the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents.

          (2B)  In determining whether an offer made by an insurer to provide medical indemnity cover for a health care professional satisfies subparagraph (1)(c)(i), disregard:

                     (a)  an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional; or

                     (b)  a compensation claim in relation to an incident of that kind;

if it is reasonable and appropriate for the insurer to exclude the incident or claim from the cover being offered, having regard to:

                     (c)  the nature of the health care provided by the health care professional during the period during which the otherwise uncovered prior incident occurred; and

                     (d)  the kinds of exclusions that are usually provided for in contracts of insurance that provide similar cover to the cover being offered; and

                     (e)  any other relevant consideration.

             (3)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under a regulated insurance contract; and

                     (b)  paragraph (1)(b) applies to the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  after the insurer makes the compulsory offer, the insurer subsequently enters into a contract of insurance with the client to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional; and

                     (d)  the contract referred to in paragraph (c) is not entered into in response to the compulsory offer; and

                     (e)  the contract referred to in paragraph (c) is entered into before the client has given the insurer a written response to the compulsory offer.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

Offence—record keeping

             (4)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional under a regulated insurance contract; and

                     (b)  paragraph (1)(b) applies to the regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not keep the following:

                              (i)  a copy of the compulsory offer;

                             (ii)  either a copy of the client’s written response to the compulsory offer or a written record (made within 14 days after the end of the compulsory offer period) of the client’s response, or failure to respond, to the compulsory offer;

                            (iii)  a copy of any other offer that the insurer makes to the client, while the compulsory offer is open for acceptance by the client, to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional;

                            (iv)  a copy of any invitations that the insurer makes to the client, while the compulsory offer is open for acceptance by the client, to make an offer to enter into a contract of insurance under which the insurer would provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional in relation to an otherwise uncovered prior incident of the health care professional;

                            for the period of 5 years starting on the day on which the compulsory offer is made.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

No offences if regulations not in force

          (4A)  The insurer commits an offence against subsection (1), (3) or (4) only if regulations are in force for the purposes of subparagraph (1)(c)(i) both:

                     (a)  when the event referred to in paragraph (1)(b) occurs; and

                     (b)  when the period of 28 days referred to in subparagraph (1)(c)(ii) ends.

If this is so, the requirements that the compulsory offer must satisfy are those specified in the regulations as in force when the event referred to in paragraph (1)(b) occurs.

Defences for offences against subsections (1), (3) and (4)

             (5)  Subsections (1), (3) and (4) do not apply if every health care incident covered by the regulated insurance contract is, or would be, one occurring outside Australia and the external Territories.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

             (6)  Subsection (1) does not apply if:

                     (a)  the insurer makes an offer for the purposes of subsection (1); and

                     (b)  the only reason why the offer does not satisfy subparagraph (1)(c)(i) is that the offer does not extend to some of the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents; and

                     (c)  the insurer has reasonable grounds for believing that the offer does extend to all the health care professional’s otherwise uncovered prior incidents.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

Compulsory offer has no effect in certain circumstances

             (7)  A compulsory offer made by an insurer for the purposes of subsection (1) ceases to have effect if the winding up of the insurer starts before the offer is accepted.

Note:          An insurer must not carry on insurance business after the winding up of the insurer has started: see section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Effect of subsection (1)

             (8)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Note:          This means that an insurer does not have to make a compulsory offer for the purposes of subsection (1) once the winding up of the insurer has started.

24  Complying offer

Complying offer test—general

             (1)  For the purposes of section 22 or 23, a person (the insurer) who provides medical indemnity cover under a regulated insurance contract makes a complying offer to the client to provide medical indemnity cover for a health care professional if and only if:

                     (a)  the offer is to provide medical indemnity cover for the health care professional under a contract of insurance; and

                     (b)  the offer complies with subsection (2).

The offer must be made to the health care professional’s legal personal representative if the health care professional has died.

             (2)  The offer complies with this subsection if and only if:

                     (a)  the offer is made in writing; and

                     (b)  the offer remains open for acceptance by the client for a period of at least 28 days after the day on which the offer is made; and

                     (c)  the procedures for dealing with claims under the contract being offered are substantially the same as those provided for in:

                              (i)  the proposed regulated contract (if the offer is made for the purposes of section 22); or

                             (ii)  the current regulated contract (if the offer is made for the purposes of section 23); and

                     (d)  the claims and incidents covered, and the exclusions from the claims and incidents covered, by the contract being offered are reasonable and appropriate having regard to:

                              (i)  the nature of the health care provided by the health care professional during the period or periods during which the incidents covered by the contract occurred; and

                             (ii)  the kinds of claims and incidents that are usually covered by contracts of insurance that provide similar cover to the cover being offered; and

                            (iii)  the kinds of exclusions that are usually provided for in contracts of insurance that provide similar cover to the cover being offered; and

                            (iv)  any other relevant consideration; and

                     (e)  the offer specifies the premium payable by the client for the cover being offered; and

                      (f)  if the offer is made for the purposes of section 22—the premium payable by the client for the cover being offered is reasonable (see section 7A); and

                    (fa)  if the offer is made for the purposes of section 23—the premium payable by the client for the cover does not exceed the amount specified in, or worked out in accordance with, the regulations; and

                     (g)  the other terms and conditions of the contract being offered comply with the requirements (if any) prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph; and

                     (h)  the offer includes a clear, concise and effective explanation of:

                              (i)  the significant characteristics and features of the cover being offered; and

                             (ii)  the significant rights, terms and conditions and obligations attaching to the cover being offered; and

                            (iii)  the risks involved for the health care professional in not accepting the offer; and

                            (iv)  the options that will be available to the health care professional if the health care professional does not accept the offer; and

                             (v)  any other matters prescribed by the regulations.

Premiums for run‑off cover

             (3)  Regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (2)(fa) may specify different amounts, or different ways of working out amounts, in relation to different classes of practitioners or different classes of insurance contracts.

             (4)  An amount specified in regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (2)(fa) may be a nil amount.

Definitions

             (5)  In this section:

current regulated contract means the regulated insurance contract referred to in paragraph 23(1)(a).

proposed regulated contract means the regulated insurance contract referred to in paragraph 22(1)(a).

26  Federal Court may order insurer to make offer

             (1)  If the Federal Court of Australia is satisfied that an insurer has engaged in, or is proposing to engage in, conduct that constitutes a contravention of subsection 22(1) or 23(1) by failing to make an offer, the Court may, on application by the client, ASIC or the Minister administering the Medical Indemnity Act 2002, grant an injunction requiring the insurer to make an offer.

             (2)  The Court may specify in its order granting the injunction:

                     (a)  the terms in which the offer is to be made; and

                     (b)  the time by which the offer must be made; and

                     (c)  the period for which the offer must be open for acceptance by the health care professional; and

                     (d)  the time from which the contract that results from the offer is to have effect if the offer is accepted.

Division 2AProvision of run‑off cover to certain medical practitioners

26A  Provision of run‑off cover to certain medical practitioners

Offence—compulsory provision of medical indemnity cover

             (1)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer is a medical indemnity insurer; and

                     (b)  the insurer, or another medical indemnity insurer, has provided medical indemnity cover for a medical practitioner (the practitioner) who is an eligible practitioner; and

                     (c)  the insurer:

                              (i)  is the last medical indemnity insurer to have provided medical indemnity cover for the practitioner in relation to incidents occurring during a medical practice period of the practitioner; or

                             (ii)  has taken over that last medical indemnity insurer; and

                     (d)  the insurer does not provide medical indemnity cover for the practitioner that satisfies all of the requirements of subsection (4); and

                     (e)  in a case where a termination date has been set for the purposes of subsection 34ZB(3) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002—the insurer’s failure to provide that medical indemnity cover occurs before that date.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  The medical indemnity cover referred to in paragraph (1)(b):

                     (a)  may be medical indemnity cover provided to the practitioner or to someone else; and

                     (b)  need not be medical indemnity cover provided while the practitioner was an eligible practitioner.

When a medical indemnity insurer is taken over

             (3)  The reference in paragraph (1)(c) to a medical indemnity insurer having taken over another medical indemnity insurer is a reference to it having assumed some or all of the financial responsibility for claims:

                     (a)  that are claims in relation to incidents that occurred in the course of, or in connection with, the practitioner’s practice as a medical practitioner; and

                     (b)  with which the other medical indemnity insurer would, but for that assumption of responsibility, have been concerned because of the other medical indemnity insurer having provided medical indemnity cover to the person.

Requirements for medical indemnity cover

             (4)  Medical indemnity cover meets the requirements of this subsection if:

                     (a)  it covers incidents that occurred while the practitioner was registered or licensed as a medical practitioner under a State or Territory law that provides for the registration or licensing of medical practitioners; and

                     (b)  the nature and range of incidents it covers is at least the same as the nature and range of incidents covered by the last medical indemnity cover provided for the practitioner; and

                     (c)  the contract of insurance under which the medical indemnity cover is provided satisfies subparagraph 34E(1)(e)(ii) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002; and

Note:           Subparagraph 34E(1)(e)(ii) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002 requires that the practitioner’s contract limit (see section 34B of that Act) equals or exceeds the relevant threshold under section 34F of that Act.

                     (d)  it is provided on the terms and conditions on which the last medical indemnity cover provided for the practitioner was provided, to the extent they are relevant to the provision of medical indemnity cover; and

                     (e)  it provides cover until the practitioner ceases to be an eligible practitioner; and

                      (f)  no premium or other consideration is payable for the medical indemnity cover by the person to whom it is provided.

Practitioner etc. need not apply for medical indemnity cover

             (7)  The obligation under subsection (1) to provide medical indemnity cover applies whether or not the practitioner, or any other person, has applied to the insurer for the medical indemnity cover.

Effect of subsection (1)

             (8)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Note:          This means that an insurer does not have to provide medical indemnity cover under subsection (1) once the winding up of the insurer has started.

Definitions

             (9)  In this section:

eligible practitioner means a person to whom subsection 34ZB(2) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002 applies.

medical practice period, of an eligible practitioner, means:

                     (a)  in any case—the period during which the practitioner was not an eligible practitioner; and

                     (b)  if:

                              (i)  the practitioner was engaged in private medical practice at the time the practitioner was an eligible practitioner; and

                             (ii)  all of the medical services provided in the course of that medical practice were services provided free of charge; and

                            (iii)  the practitioner is no longer engaged in that medical practice;

                            the period during which the practitioner was engaged in that medical practice; and

                     (c)  if the practitioner:

                              (i)  was engaged in medical practice (other than private medical practice); and

                             (ii)  was provided with medical indemnity cover in relation to incidents occurring during that medical practice; and

                            (iii)  is no longer engaged in that medical practice;

                            the period during which the practitioner was engaged in that medical practice and in relation to which the practitioner was provided with that medical indemnity cover.

Note:          This definition, and the obligation under subsection (1) to provide medical indemnity cover, can apply more than once in relation to the same eligible practitioner.

private medical practice has the same meaning as in the Medical Indemnity Act 2002.

26B  Medical practitioners provided with medical indemnity cover by MDOs, but not adequate run‑off cover

Offence—MDOs must arrange run‑off cover

             (1)  A person (the organisation) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the organisation is an MDO; and

                     (b)  the organisation, or another MDO, has provided medical indemnity cover for a medical practitioner (the practitioner) who is an eligible practitioner; and

                     (c)  the organisation is not providing medical indemnity cover for the practitioner that complies with subsection 26A(4), or that would comply with that subsection if it were provided by a medical indemnity insurer under a contract of insurance; and

                     (d)  there is no medical indemnity insurer that is obliged under subsection 26A(1) to provide medical indemnity cover for the practitioner; and

                     (e)  the organisation:

                              (i)  is the last MDO to have provided relevant medical indemnity cover for the practitioner in relation to incidents occurring during a medical practice period of the practitioner; or

                             (ii)  has taken over that last MDO; and

                      (f)  the organisation does not have an arrangement with a medical indemnity insurer under which the medical indemnity insurer is obliged to provide medical indemnity cover for the practitioner that satisfies all of the requirements of subsection 26A(4); and

                     (g)  in a case where a termination date has been set for the purposes of subsection 34ZB(3) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002—the MDO’s failure to have such an arrangement occurs before that date.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  The medical indemnity cover referred to in paragraph (1)(b):

                     (a)  may be medical indemnity cover provided to the practitioner or to someone else; and

                     (b)  need not be medical indemnity cover provided while the practitioner was an eligible practitioner.

When an MDO is taken over

             (3)  The reference in paragraph (1)(e) to an MDO having taken over another MDO is a reference to it having assumed some or all of the financial responsibility for claims:

                     (a)  that are claims in relation to incidents that occurred in the course of, or in connection with, the practitioner’s practice as a medical practitioner; and

                     (b)  with which the other MDO would, but for that assumption of responsibility, have been concerned because of the other MDO having provided medical indemnity cover to the person.

Definitions

             (4)  In this section:

eligible practitioner means a person to whom subsection 34ZB(2) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002 applies.

medical practice period, of an eligible practitioner, has the same meaning as in section 26A of this Act.

26C  Provision of run‑off in accordance with arrangements with MDOs

Offence—compulsory provision of medical indemnity cover

             (1)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer is a medical indemnity insurer; and

                     (b)  the insurer is obliged, under an arrangement of the kind referred to in paragraph 26B(1)(f), to provide medical indemnity cover for a medical practitioner; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not provide medical indemnity cover for the practitioner that satisfies all of the requirements of subsection 26A(4); and

                     (d)  in a case where a termination date has been set for the purposes of subsection 34ZB(3) of the Medical Indemnity Act 2002—the insurer’s failure to provide that medical indemnity cover occurs before that date.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  The medical indemnity cover referred to in subsection (1):

                     (a)  may be medical indemnity cover provided to the practitioner or to someone else; and

                     (b)  need not be medical indemnity cover provided while the practitioner was an eligible practitioner.

Practitioner etc. need not apply for medical indemnity cover

             (3)  The obligation under subsection (1) to provide medical indemnity cover applies whether or not the practitioner, or any other person, has applied to the insurer for the medical indemnity cover.

Effect of subsection (1)

             (4)  Subsection (1) has effect subject to section 116 of the Insurance Act 1973.

Note:          This means that an insurer does not have to provide medical indemnity cover under subsection (1) once the winding up of the insurer has started.

26D  Notification and record‑keeping

Offences—giving notice

             (1)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover under subsection 26A(1) or 26C(1); and

                     (b)  the insurer does not give to the person to whom the cover is provided a written notice stating:

                              (i)  the nature and range of incidents it covers; and

                             (ii)  the terms and conditions on which it is provided.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

             (2)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover under subsection 26A(1) or 26C(1); and

                     (b)  the insurer does not, within the notification period, give to the Chief Executive Medicare a written notice stating:

                              (i)  the name of the practitioner for whom the medical indemnity cover is provided; and

                             (ii)  the date from which the medical indemnity cover took effect; and

                            (iii)  such other matters as are determined, by legislative instrument, by the Minister administering the Medical Indemnity Act 2002.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

          (2A)  The notification period for the purposes of paragraph (2)(b) is a period, starting on the day after the day on which the insurer provides the medical indemnity cover in question, of:

                     (a)  61 days; or

                     (b)  such greater number of days as the Minister administering the Medical Indemnity Act 2002 determines by legislative instrument.

Offence—record‑keeping

             (4)  A person (the insurer) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the insurer provides medical indemnity cover under subsection 26A(1) or 26C(1); and

                     (b)  the insurer gives written notice as required by subsection (1) of this section to the person to whom the cover is provided; and

                     (c)  the insurer does not keep a copy of the notice for the period starting when the notice is given and ending 5 years after the insurer ceases to provide the cover.

Note:           Paragraph 26A(4)(e) sets out the period for which the insurer must provide the cover.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

26E  Run‑off cover taken to be provided under contract of insurance

             (1)  If the insurer provides medical indemnity cover under section 26A or 26C, there is taken, for all purposes (other than the purposes specified in the regulations), to be a contract of insurance between:

                     (a)  the insurer; and

                     (b)  the person to whom the medical indemnity cover is provided;

under which the medical indemnity cover is provided.

             (2)  This section applies:

                     (a)  despite the insurer not receiving any premium or other consideration for providing the medical indemnity cover; and

                     (b)  whether or not the medical indemnity cover was provided by means of the person to whom it was provided accepting an offer from the insurer to provide it.

26F  Federal Court may order insurer to provide run‑off cover or MDO to enter into arrangement

             (1)  If the Federal Court of Australia is satisfied that an insurer has engaged in, or is proposing to engage in, conduct that constitutes a contravention of subsection 26A(1) or 26C(1), the Court may grant an injunction requiring the insurer to provide medical indemnity cover in accordance with that subsection.

             (2)  If the Federal Court of Australia is satisfied that an MDO has engaged in, or is proposing to engage in, conduct that constitutes a contravention of subsection 26B(1), the Court may grant an injunction requiring the MDO to enter into an arrangement of a kind referred to in paragraph 26B(1)(f).

             (3)  An order under this section may be made only after an application by:

                     (a)  the practitioner; or

                     (b)  ASIC; or

                     (c)  the Minister administering the Medical Indemnity Act 2002.

26G  Pecuniary penalties for offences against this Division

             (1)  To avoid doubt, subsection 4B(3) of the Crimes Act 1914 applies to any offence against a provision of this Division committed by a body corporate, as if an offence against that provision could be committed by a natural person.

             (2)  This section does not affect the meaning of any other offence against this Act.

Division 3Intermediary’s responsibilities

27  Intermediary’s responsibilities

             (1)  A person (the intermediary) commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the intermediary provides a financial service on or after 1 July 2003; and

                     (b)  in the course of providing that service, the intermediary:

                              (i)  arranges, or offers to arrange, for someone to enter into or renew a regulated insurance contract; or

                             (ii)  recommends that someone enter into or renew a regulated insurance contract; and

                     (c)  either:

                              (i)  the regulated insurance contract breaches, or would breach, the minimum cover rules; or

                             (ii)  the regulated insurance contract is a new regulated insurance contract and the insurer does not make a compulsory new contract offer in relation to the regulated insurance contract.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

             (2)  It does not matter whether the intermediary provides the financial service in the intermediary’s own right or as a representative of another person.

             (3)  Subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) does not apply to a recommendation by the intermediary if the intermediary has reasonable grounds to believe that a compulsory new contract offer will be made in relation to the new regulated insurance contract before that contract is entered into or is renewed.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in this subsection (see subsection 13.3(3) of the Criminal Code).

             (4)  To avoid doubt, the intermediary commits the offence whether or not the insurer commits, or would commit, an offence against subsection 17(2), 18(3), 19(3) or 22(1).

Part 4Administration

  

28  APRA to have general administration of Part 2

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), APRA has the general administration of Part 2.

             (2)  The Minister may give APRA directions about the performance or exercise of its functions or powers under Part 2.

29  APRA Act secrecy provisions apply

                   Section 56 of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998 prohibits certain disclosures of information received under this Act.

30  ASIC to have general administration of Part 3

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), ASIC has the general administration of Part 3.

             (2)  The Minister may give ASIC directions about the performance or exercise of its functions or powers under Part 3.

Part 5Miscellaneous

  

31  Anti‑avoidance measures

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  before 1 July 2003, a person entered into an arrangement under which the person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional; and

                     (b)  the sole or dominant purpose, or a substantial purpose, of the person in entering into the arrangement at that time was to avoid having a provision or provisions of this Act apply to the arrangement;

the arrangement is to be treated, for the purposes of this Act, as if it had been entered into on or after 1 July 2003.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  an arrangement under which a person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional comes into effect before 1 July 2003; and

                     (b)  the sole or dominant purpose, or a substantial purpose, of the person in having the arrangement come into effect at that time was to avoid having a provision or provisions of this Act apply to the arrangement;

the arrangement is to be treated, for the purposes of this Act, as if it had come into effect on or after 1 July 2003.

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  an arrangement under which a person provides medical indemnity cover for a health care professional was renewed before 1 July 2003; and

                     (b)  the sole or dominant purpose, or a substantial purpose, of the person in having the arrangement renewed at that time was to avoid having a provision or provisions of this Act apply to the arrangement;

the arrangement is to be treated, for the purposes of this Act, as if it had been renewed on or after 1 July 2003.

32  Act not to affect State and Territory laws

                   This Act is not intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of any law of a State or Territory.

33  Regulations

             (1)  The Governor‑General may make regulations prescribing matters:

                     (a)  required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

                     (b)  necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.

             (2)  The regulations may prescribe penalties not exceeding a fine of 10 penalty units for offences against the regulations.


Endnotes

Endnote 1—About the endnotes

The endnotes provide information about this compilation and the compiled law.

The following endnotes are included in every compilation:

Endnote 1—About the endnotes

Endnote 2—Abbreviation key

Endnote 3—Legislation history

Endnote 4—Amendment history

Abbreviation key—Endnote 2

The abbreviation key sets out abbreviations that may be used in the endnotes.

Legislation history and amendment history—Endnotes 3 and 4

Amending laws are annotated in the legislation history and amendment history.

The legislation history in endnote 3 provides information about each law that has amended (or will amend) the compiled law. The information includes commencement details for amending laws and details of any application, saving or transitional provisions that are not included in this compilation.

The amendment history in endnote 4 provides information about amendments at the provision (generally section or equivalent) level. It also includes information about any provision of the compiled law that has been repealed in accordance with a provision of the law.

Editorial changes

The Legislation Act 2003 authorises First Parliamentary Counsel to make editorial and presentational changes to a compiled law in preparing a compilation of the law for registration. The changes must not change the effect of the law. Editorial changes take effect from the compilation registration date.

If the compilation includes editorial changes, the endnotes include a brief outline of the changes in general terms. Full details of any changes can be obtained from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

Misdescribed amendments

A misdescribed amendment is an amendment that does not accurately describe the amendment to be made. If, despite the misdescription, the amendment can be given effect as intended, the amendment is incorporated into the compiled law and the abbreviation “(md)” added to the details of the amendment included in the amendment history.

If a misdescribed amendment cannot be given effect as intended, the abbreviation “(md not incorp)” is added to the details of the amendment included in the amendment history.

 

Endnote 2—Abbreviation key

 

ad = added or inserted

o = order(s)

am = amended

Ord = Ordinance

amdt = amendment

orig = original

c = clause(s)

par = paragraph(s)/subparagraph(s)

C[x] = Compilation No. x

    /sub‑subparagraph(s)

Ch = Chapter(s)

pres = present

def = definition(s)

prev = previous

Dict = Dictionary

(prev…) = previously

disallowed = disallowed by Parliament

Pt = Part(s)

Div = Division(s)

r = regulation(s)/rule(s)

ed = editorial change

reloc = relocated

exp = expires/expired or ceases/ceased to have

renum = renumbered

    effect

rep = repealed

F = Federal Register of Legislation

rs = repealed and substituted

gaz = gazette

s = section(s)/subsection(s)

LA = Legislation Act 2003

Sch = Schedule(s)

LIA = Legislative Instruments Act 2003

Sdiv = Subdivision(s)

(md) = misdescribed amendment can be given

SLI = Select Legislative Instrument

    effect

SR = Statutory Rules

(md not incorp) = misdescribed amendment

Sub‑Ch = Sub‑Chapter(s)

    cannot be given effect

SubPt = Subpart(s)

mod = modified/modification

underlining = whole or part not

No. = Number(s)

    commenced or to be commenced

 

Endnote 3—Legislation history

 

Act

Number and year

Assent

Commencement

Application, saving and transitional provisions

Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003

37, 2003

2 May 2003

1 July 2003 (s 2)

 

Medical Indemnity Legislation Amendment (Run‑off Cover Indemnity and Other Measures) Act 2004

77, 2004

23 June 2004

Sch 1 (item 36), Sch 3: 1 July 2004 (s 2(1) items 6, 8)
Sch 6 (items 7–9): 1 July 2003 (s 2(1) item 16)
Sch 6 (items 10–13): 23 June 2004 (s 2(1) item 17)

Medical Indemnity Legislation Amendment Act 2005

25, 2005

21 Mar 2005

Sch 1 (items 15, 16): 22 Mar 2005 (s 2(1) item 9)

Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2005

111, 2005

6 Sept 2005

Sch 2 (item 550): 1 Oct 2005 (s 2(1) item 7)

Medical Indemnity Legislation Amendment Act 2006

116, 2006

4 Nov 2006

Sch 1 (items 11–19, 22, 23) and Sch 2 (items  15–20): 4 Nov 2006 (s 2(1) items 3, 5, 6)
Sch 1 (items 20, 21): 1 July 2004 (s 2(1) item 4)

Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011

32, 2011

25 May 2011

Sch 4 (items 358, 359): 1 July 2011(s 2(1) item 3)

Medical and Midwife Indemnity Legislation Amendment Act 2019

105, 2019

28 Nov 2019

Sch 4 (items 139–142), Sch 5 (items 5, 6) and Sch 6 (items 58, 59): 1 July 2020 (s 2(1) items 2, 3)

Sch 5 (item 6) and Sch 6 (item 59)

 

Endnote 4—Amendment history

 

Provision affected

How affected

Part 1

 

Division 2

 

s 4........................................

am No 77, 2004; No 32, 2011

s 6........................................

am No 116, 2006

s 7........................................

am No 116, 2006

s 7A.....................................

ad No 77, 2004

Part 2

 

Division 1 heading...............

rep No 105, 2019

s 10......................................

am. No. 77, 2004

s 11......................................

am No 77, 2004

Division 2............................

rep No 105, 2019

s 12......................................

rep No 105, 2019

s 13......................................

am No 116, 2006

 

rep No 105, 2019

s 14......................................

rep No 105, 2019

s 15......................................

rep No 105, 2019

Part 3

 

Division 1

 

s 18......................................

am No 116, 2006

s 19......................................

am No 116, 2006

s 20......................................

am No 77, 2004; No 105, 2019

Division 2

 

Subdivision A

 

s 21......................................

am No 116, 2006

Subdivision B

 

s 22......................................

am No 77, 2004; No. 116, 2006

s 24......................................

am No 77, 2004

s 25......................................

rep No 77, 2004

s 26......................................

am No 77, 2004

Division 2A

 

Division 2A.........................

ad No 77, 2004

s 26A...................................

ad No 77, 2004

 

am No 25, 2005; No 116, 2006; No 105, 2019

s 26B...................................

ad No 77, 2004

s 26C...................................

ad No 77, 2004

s 26D...................................

ad No 77, 2004

 

am No 25, 2005; No 111, 2005; No 116, 2006; No 32, 2011; No 105, 2019

s 26E...................................

ad No 77, 2004

s 26F....................................

ad No 77, 2004

s 26G...................................

ad No 77, 2004