BMS Professional Indemnity Insurance for 2021

Following insurance industry trends and increasing claims from PNZ members, our insurance partner BMS have changed in their professional indemnity insurance offered for 2021. The cost of BMS Professional Indemnity Insurance for 2021 is $108 and will not cover boundary violations.

Providing competitive insurance to members in terms of price and cover is a priority for PNZ and a number of options have been explored with BMS to optimise the value of insurance offered. BMS 2021 Insurance Policy Costs are as follows.

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: $108
  • Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance: $165.50
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance For Students: $23
  • Public Liability Insurance Extension: $50

The cost of professional indemnity insurance through the PNZ programme has not increased for a number of years. However, programme claims have increased, with boundary violations contributing to a high proportion of claims in recent years. As these claims have been made by a relatively small number of members, BMS professional indemnity insurance for 2021 will exclude boundary violations. We understand that boundary violations are not covered by other national physiotherapy member associations including the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Please read more about BMS profession indemnity insurance and the exclusion of boundary violations below and visit BMS' PNZ member insurance website or pnz.org.nz/insurance for more details on the insurance programme.


BMS Profession Indemnity Insurance

Over 70 per cent of PNZ members take up the option of professional indemnity insurance through BMS. In 2018, after a review of insurance providers PNZ moved to BMS as our insurance broker for physiotherapy professional indemnity insurance.

One of the advantages BMS has, is that they are also the insurance broker for the Australian and Canadian Physiotherapy Associations, so they know the profession. They also act as insurance brokers for a range of allied health providers in all three countries.

BMS describes itself as providing an industry disrupter model of insurance, whereby they keep premiums as low as possible and work with the member association to maintain high professional standards and low claim numbers. As part of the full disclosure for the change of insurance provider, we could demonstrate that over the decade prior to 2018 the number of claims against professional indemnity insurance were generally low. Unfortunately for us and BMS, the number of claims since we changed providers has continued to rise.

The Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand reports that complaints and notifications have more than tripled since 2015/16, with a corresponding increase in referrals to Professional Conduct Committees. It is also worth noting the number of claims for physiotherapists to the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal is low compared to other health professions. Costs for disciplinary hearings are rarely fully reimbursed; usually it is well under half.

Every complaint made about professional conduct does impact on all of the profession, directly through the cost of the disciplinary levy as part of the APC renewal and in professional indemnity insurance. Supporting the profession to act at the top of scope is something that PNZ members can do for each other and through PNZ. Certainly this has been the focus for both the Professional Practice and the Professional Development Committees over recent years.

As PNZ’s insurance broker, BMS have approached a number of insurance underwriters to offer 2021 profession indemnity insurance and the insurance being offered has been evaluated as competitive.


Boundary Violations

Boundary violations are addressed in the Physiotherapy Standards Framework 2018. The sexual and emotional boundaries standard (page 82) provides an introduction, definition of transgressions and information on how to safeguard professional boundaries.

The broad intention of the professional indemnity insurance policy offered by BMS is to cover professional practice and the intention of any boundary violation exclusion is to lean on the definitions within the Physiotherapy Standards Framework.

PNZ members are reminded to please be familiar with the sexual and emotional boundaries standard and safeguards.

BMS have also provided a medical dictionary definition of a boundary violation, as a disruption of the barrier between a professional and the client. A more generic definition is an action that is harmful or potentially harmful to the patient and constitutes exploitation of the patient.


Current Insurance Policy Holders – Annual Declaration of Claims

If you hold existing PNZ insurance, all current policy holders MUST complete an online claims declaration prior to 31 December 2020.

To do this, please click here.

Prior to your insurance renewal, you need to declare to BMS any incidents you are aware of, or become aware of, including:

  • Audits or Other Investigations
  • Complaints or Letters of Demand
  • Communications from the Board
  • ACC Inquiries
  • Any other issue related to your practice where you may be in a dispute

If you fail to notify BMS prior to 31 December 2020, you may not be covered. This policy is a ‘claims made’ policy. A claims made policy requires that any potential claim which you are currently aware of is reported within the policy period that you became aware of it.

Please ensure you renew your membership and insurance promptly to maintain continuity of cover.


Page updated November 2020