Michael-John Damant, a director of Genoa, said that this offering factors in the many challenges faced by today’s doctors. The claims made based policy gives the South African medical fraternity access to a local product where unlike the position with off-shore providers, the doctors and specialists have recourse to either the Financial Sector Conduct Authority or the South African Ombudsman of Short Term Insurance (OSTI) should they be unhappy with a decision taken by the Insurers.
It is underwritten by South African-based Safire Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers. “We are pleased to be the first Med-Mal insurer in South Africa to have received their support in respect of this innovative product,” says Pierre Bekker, CEO of Authorised Financial Services Provider Safire Insurance Company. Claims increases coupled with the volatility of the rand have led to punitive premium increases each year, which have contributed towards the massive increase in costs associated with running a medical practice.
“We are aware that amendments to legislation governing the Road Accident Fund (RAF) make damage claims from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents less profitable for personal injury litigators. This has spurred many to turn to more lucrative options such as medical malpractice claims. As a result, many doctors risk becoming targets of litigation. Our solution is to offer a claims-made insurance policy with stable, sustainable premiums and access to the top attorney firms in the country to defend our practitioners against vexatious litigants,” Bekker explains.
Genoa’s policy triggers when a claim is made against the insured during the policy period. So as to avoid the common issue of cross subsidization of premiums between low, medium and high-risk practitioners, this new product now offers individual risk-rated premiums based on each practitioner’s individual risk profile. We are perfectly positioned to provide a high-quality product to our medical Practitioners because liability insurance is a product that we have been underwriting to multiple professions for the last 16 years, said Daman.
Assisting doctors having to deal with significant personal distress and massive potential reputational damage resulting from a medical malpractice claim must be top of mind. There will be no call centres and all interactions will be face-to-face, both before and during the full life of the policy. In the event of a claim, a doctor will receive personal coaching by a highly qualified medico-legal team on how to best deal with it and to manage the associated trauma. In order to offer our clients the superior service they should expect, we rely on the expertise of our panel attorneys, MacRobert Attorneys, Norton Rose Fulbright, Webber Wentzel and Clyde and Co to name a few.
“From the get go, as soon as a practitioner is notified of a potential claim by either the HPCSA and/ or through the receipt of some form of legal process, we will ensure they have access to the top legal minds and that a consultative approach between insurer, panel attorneys and the insured is adhered to at all times”. We will assist with responses and even attend the HPCSA hearings with the practitioner,” Damant says. The policy focuses on mediation and other alternative dispute resolution techniques to reduce claim costs so that practitioners are not faced with a situation where their Limit of Indemnity has been eroded by unnecessary litigation or defence costs.
Through preferential premium discounts, Genoa encourages its medical practitioners to be proactive and to utilise existing medical technologies to mitigate potential claims. “This includes the use of things like electronic note taking systems, the use of general and informed consent templates or the use of systems which identify prescription errors, all of which we are happy to assist and inform practitioners,” says Damant.