VPA Inc. Members’ Professional Indemnity Cover

In 2012 the Psychology Board of Australia changed the registration standard regarding Professional Indemnity Insurance, and psychologists were able to be covered by employer and Union group PI policies once again, having been excluded by the PBA in 2010.

As a consequence the VPA was able to take out a group PI policy from 1 July 2012. The VPA policy has just been renewed. The policy only covers members in relation to their employment.

In the 2012/2013 financial year the VPA absorbed the cost of the policy premiums and did not increase the membership subscription rate, which has been reduced when PI cover was lost in 2010. The annual subscription rate has been increased again to cover the cost of PI insurance. The VPA subscription is now the same as the MSAV subscription, which also includes PI cover for MSAV members.

The VPA policy only applies to psychologists who are employed by an employer, and does not cover any work done in private practice. Cover will is up to $10M for any one incident.

Importantly the VPA policy includes insurance to cover the cost of representation at the Psychology Board of Australia should a member be the subject of a complaint.

In 2012/2013 we referred two VPA members to lawyers for advice and representation under the PI policy in relation to complaints to the Board; in both cases the Board found in favour of the member.

The following advice is provided to VPA members in relation to PI insurance:

For members who have only ever worked as an employed psychologist: For VPA Inc members who have only ever practiced as an employee, and have never been in private practice, there is no need to take out any additional PI insurance. Employer cover plus the VPA cover will be sufficient to meet the Board’s standard.

You need to remain a financial member of the VPA during your employment to ensure full cover and to ensure that run-off cover applies once you cease employment.

The VPA policy provides cover for disciplinary matters which employer cover does not. The VPA policy includes legal representation at the Psychology Board of Australia if a complaint has been made – for example, alleging unprofessional conduct, breach of the code of ethics.

The Board recommends, but no longer mandates, that psychologists take out PI insurance cover for disciplinary matters.

The VPA cover also includes representation at Coroner’s Court.

Members who have been in private practice: Any member who has ever been in private practice may need to continue to buy retroactive cover and run off cover for their private practice, depending on the wording of their current policy. Members in this situation should make inquiries to their insurer.

Members who currently have a private practice: Any member currently operating a private practice will continue to need to take out an individual PI policy to cover their private practice.

Members employed in ‘Private Clinics’ in Public Hospitals: Any member in this situation should continue to purchase individual PI cover.

The VPA Inc policy is with VERO and the Policy Number is LPP016115548.

The renewed policy commenced 1 July 2013.

Members who are employees only (without any private practice work) do not need to take out any additional insurance to meet PBA requirements.

Please ensure that you notify the VPA Inc as soon as you become aware of any incident or circumstance that could lead to a claim being made under the Policy. NOTE: there is a form for members to fill in who want to report an incident or circumstance which may lead to a PI claim.

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