For many, knowing if you require professional indemnity insurance can be a cause of confusion. After all, not everyone understands the terms, the requirements and ultimately the risks that they can be put under by not having the right level of cover.

This is true for businesses, too. While concentrating on obvious risk mitigation policies such as fire and theft, a company can end up with blind spots in their cover where some of the more pressing financial dangers can lurk.

An easy way to evaluate your need for professional indemnity insurance (also commonly known as PPI or professional liability insurance) is by asking yourself this simple question: Do I, or employees at my business, give people advice?

Now, naturally there’s more to it than that, and the nuances of your cover will need to be discussed with your insurance broker to ensure you have an all-encompassing business insurance policy. There are other benefits to working with your broker in this way, too, as any profession is liable to change.

Pharmacies in Australia are finding this to be particularly true.

Pharmacists require professional indemnity cover

In Western Australia, pharmacists are being given more responsibility, as the treatment for influenza is moved away from GP clinics. The virus, commonly known as the flu, has historically been medicated through doctors’ practices, though it will be pharmacists who will be responsible for administering vaccinations in the western state.

According to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), this comes with strict conditions, in accordance with the Poisons Regulation 1965, meaning pharmacists must:

  • Be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • Have completed a specific training program accredited by the Department of Health
  • Be registered first aid administrators
  • And hold the appropriate level of professional indemnity insurance.

While professional indemnity is easy to think of in terms of protecting high-ranking executives, it is integral for people working in a range of industries. Perhaps most important of which is the healthcare sector, where medical professionals should be encouraged to make decisions without the risk of financial ruin.

This is why the State Government has implemented such a clause in the new initiative – to make sure all pharmacists have the correct level of cover. In effect, it will likely be pharmacies in Western Australia that take up the insurance product as part of their policies.

While many may already offer their employees professional liability cover, the influenza news will make it integral for each employer to evaluate their policies to make sure they are offering the highest level of protection to their members of staff.

Meanwhile, many pharmacists may wish to discuss their professional indemnity insurance requirements as an individual. This was recommended by industry association Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL).

“PDL strongly recommends all pharmacists have personalised PII, regardless of any third-party insurance already in place. Third-party PII will not exclude you from liability in all instances,” the group explained online.

A viral trend?

There is some suggestion that pharmacists all over Australia may soon find themselves in a similar position and responsible for administering treatment for influenza among the general population.

PSA President of the WA branch Teresa Di Franco said there is evidence that the initiative will succeed, particularly as GP offices find themselves increasingly pushed for time and resources.

“Research shows that providing the community access to pharmacist-delivered vaccinations greatly expands the number of people who are immunised and captures a cohort who previously have not been immunised,” she explained last month.

“This is a positive result which will have very beneficial health outcomes for the community.”

All eyes will be on Western Australian pharmacies to see how they manage such a task. The flu is clearly not going anywhere, though continuous treatment of it will require professionals who can act without hesitation and the risk of a lawsuit if they make a mistake.

If you need to speak with a specialist – someone to work for you when it comes to purchasing professional indemnity insurance – MGA has offices throughout Australia, with experts ready to guide you in the right direction.