The VDA’s comprehensive malpractice insurance cover is available exclusively to VDA members. The VDA has the best veterinary medical legal and insurance expertise and experience in Australia. All potential claims are carefully managed and defended during the pre-claims stage, which puts the VDA program a world apart from any competing insurance cover.
During the time when a member veterinarian first becomes aware that there is an incident or complaint against them, the VDA should be notified, in order to assist in assessing the situation and helping to alleviate the client’s concerns. By comparison, with all other insurance programs, veterinarians are left to their own devices at this “pre-claims “stage, leading to substantial risk and unnecessary frustration, stress and time wastage for the veterinarian. The VDA’s experienced assistance at this stage results in far fewer claims, or claims that are more easily and efficiently resolved, and less risk, stress and time-wasting for the member.
Competing insurance providers often rely on “consent to settle“(hammer clauses) in their policies in order to settle claims cheaply and expediently-instead of defending the dignity, integrity and reputation of their customer. In fact, other insurers usually have no choice but to settle claims instead of defending the veterinarian, as they are not professional defence organisations and therefore do not have the expertise and knowledge to do so.
In contrast, all claims against VDA members are thoroughly defended from the time of the incident, unless or until such time as it can be convincingly proved that the member was medically negligent by not meeting the minimum standards of care.
The VDA provides the only sustained, coordinated and comprehensive defense of members in Australia. VDA assistance and mentoring throughout each case results in members who are wiser and more empowered and who practice a higher standard of medicine.
The VDA regards so-called 'practice insurance cover' offered by other insurance companies as an anomaly that often works to the detriment of the veterinarians that are supposedly covered by it. The VDA recommends instead that each and every veterinarian carries their own personal malpractice insurance cover while each practice owner takes a practice cover endorsement to cover their practice entity and the non-veterinarian staff employed in the practice. In this way, each veterinarian is covered personally and is specifically named in the insurance contract, thereby ensuring that they are covered in any practice anywhere within the borders of Australia and removing any doubt as to whether they are insured or not. This provides security and peace of mind to all VDA members.
While practice owners may agree to pay the annual premium of the VDA member, it is imperative that the insurance contract be between the employee or relief veterinarian and the insurance company, to ensure that the protection provided to the member is not compromised.
It is important to know that some insurers place secondary limits on cover for legal fees. They typically offer $10million cover, but limit the legal fees cover to $100k. Given that the reality is most claims are defensible (and therefore no claim will be paid and the only risk you will have is for legal fees spent in defending the claim) you actually have only $100k cover when you select to take $10 million cover!
The VDA’s answer to this is not to impose secondary limits in the VDA program: if you take $250k cover, then there is $250k available for legal fees and if you take the $10 million cover, you have $10 million available for legal fees.
Since the VDA is managed by a panel of experienced veterinarians who are experts in veterinary legal defense, the VDA’s standards of case management are the highest in Australia. The VDA’s network of veterinarians include internationally renowned veterinary medical experts as well as VDA selected expert witnesses.
The VDA offers seminars for veterinarians interested in acting as forensic expert witnesses and sets the criteria and benchmark for standard of care.
How to join the VDA Insurance Program in two easy steps:
Complete the VDA membership application form.
Payment for the annual fee may be made using PayPal, or by EFT or cheque. (Further details on the application form).
Pay your insurance premium to the VDA's brokers, who will invoice you for the premium directly.
Annual insurance premiums start at around $260 ($250k cover) for personal malpractice and public liability cover and the practice endorsement for practice owners costs around $683 p.a. for $10 million malpractice and public liability cover for the practice entity.
The VDA is an authorised insurance referrer.