About our Subscriptions
Dental Protection is a mutual (i.e. owned by its members) membership organisation, not an insurance company. Because of this, the whole purpose of DPL's existence is to serve and support its members. Because DPL has no external shareholders, it can operate in a very different way to a commercial company with shareholder expectations to satisfy. One of the many obvious differences that flow from this, is that DPL's discretion to assist its members is absolute - although the funds contributed by (and owned by) the members can and must only be used for the specific purposes provided for in the Memorandum and Articles of Association. There is, however, no predefined upper financial limit placed upon any of the assistance we can provide.
In sharp contrast, insurance must by its very nature be finite rather than open-ended, and this is why any contract (policy) of insurance clearly states what is, and is not, covered under the contract of insurance, and what terms and conditions apply. A premium paid to and accepted by MDA National Insurance Pty Ltd ("MDA National Insurance") for medical indemnity insurance gives the policyholder a legal right to receive defined benefits, under defined circumstances and up to defined limits. MDA National Insurance similarly has a legal obligation to provide this cover, on the terms stated in the contract of insurance. But in a variety of commonly-occurring situations, dental health professionals will want and need help with things that medical indemnity insurance policies are not designed to cover. It makes sense to be able to access consistently reliable advice on such matters which fall outside this statutory insurance requirement, in order to protect yourself in situations like this.
Members are offered the convenience of paying their MDA National Insurance premium, and their DPL membership subscription, together. But it is important to understand that two separate payments are being made, to two separate organisations, for two separate purposes.
Within the total amount paid by DPL members, there are two entirely separate elements. One is the insurance premium paid to MDA National Insurance (to which GST and stamp duty is added), while the other element is a DPL membership subscription (to which GST alone is added, because DPL itself is not offering or providing a contract of insurance). This DPL membership, over and above the MDA National medical indemnity insurance premium, provides;
- All the services of the DPL team based in Brisbane and Melbourne. Any advice you receive, whether case related or otherwise, is a benefit of your DPL membership, not part of your MDA National Insurance policy until a qualifying claim is being made against the policy and has been accepted as such. Even for matters not covered by, or excluded from the insurance policy, you can still seek advice and assistance from DPL.
- As a DPL member you can seek advice on a wide range of issues, as set out in detail within the "Complete Package" booklet which can be accessed via this website. The fact that this advice is independent, and personal to you, is part of its special value - but it is also coming from a trusted, knowledgeable source. The DPL advisory team members are specialists in the dento-legal field - people who have first hand experience of dentistry and can understand and empathise with the situations you are facing.
- Access to all the unrivalled experience of DPL's Dento-legal advisory team in the UK where necessary - the world's acknowledged leaders in this specialised field.
- Access to alternative dispute resolution arrangements (conciliation / mediation) in relation to professional disputes with colleagues.
- A variety of DPL Publications that are provided free to members.
- Seminars provided free of charge to DPL members and other members of their staff.
- A wide range of risk management resources available from our website and in other formats - as described in detail in the "Complete Package" booklet which can be accessed via this website.
- A variety of savings on educational and practice management related products, which in turn can enable you to make further savings, thereby adding extra value to your DPL membership.
Additional benefits of DPL membership include:
- Free run-off cover in the event of permanent retirement from dentistry, for any reason.
- Free run-off cover in the event of temporary retirement from dentistry (e.g. maternity, postgraduate study or other career breaks lasting three months or longer).
- Free run-off cover upon permanently ceasing practise in Australia.
- Free public liability and product liability insurance* (for members whose work situation requires this).
In each of the above situations, DPL pays on your behalf any insurance premium that would normally have been payable to the insurance provider. Where indicated thus (*), this insurance is not provided by MDA National Insurance, but by a separate licensed Australian insurer.
Notwithstanding all the changes that have taken place in medical indemnity in Australia in recent years, and the fact that DPL members have the protection of a fully compliant and regulated contract of medical indemnity insurance from MDA National Insurance (or in some cases from other insurers), our dental members in Australia still remain full members of the Medical Protection Society (MPS), served by DPL Australia.
The Federal Government's decision to impose the insurance requirement upon every healthcare professional in Australia was beyond the control of any of us. But the arrangements available to DPL members offer the security and peace of mind that comes from knowing that, if push comes to shove, the world's most experienced team of dento-legal advisers is just a phone call away.
Here in Australia, your DPL subscriptions give you access to all the above benefits, and they are set at a level which is designed to cover the cost of providing these services, not in oder to make a profit. This is because DPL, within MPS, is a not-for-profit organisation which exists only to serve and support its members. Some of the principles that underpin the way we work internationally may halp you to understand this.
For example, DPL's own subscriptions are set on the best available expert advice, taking due account of our dental case experience in each individual part of the world. When setting DPL's subscription rates, there is no cross-subsidy between medical and dental members, nor between members in different countries. This can be seen from the wide variation in subscriptions from one international territory to another, as openly published on our website and elsewhere. The total cost of dental professional indemnity in Australia compares very favourably with what their professional counterparts are paying in many other countries.
Since DPL is a not-for-profit discretionary mutual organisation, there are two further things you may wish to bear in mind. Firstly, we do not set subscriptions with the intention of making a profit, but simply to provide prudently for the needs of our members, in order to maintain and continually improve the services we offer them. We have no commercial (profit-making) partners, so there is no profit for any such partner included within any subscription you pay to DPL.
Secondly, as a mutual organisation we always aim to be fair and equitable when setting subscriptions for different groups of our members. In recent years we have introduced many new membership grades which have been warmly welcomed by those to whom they apply. Furthermore, members who are considered to represent a particularly adverse risk for the mutual fund, for any reason, may be asked to pay a higher level of subscription and their continued membership may be conditional upon participation in a structured risk management programme. In this way we try to minimise the extent to which such members are effectively subsidised by the membership as a whole.