Indemnity Insurance Information

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“Social Workers operate in a sensitive space where they can be exposed to litigation even when their practice is what would be expected of a social worker.
This means that access to  professional indemnity insurance is more important then ever.”

As well as the core policy cover the additional benefits available through the ANZASW scheme represent real value to members, not the least of which is the independence it affords them in the event of a problem arising. Their employers, on the other hand, may not see this independence in the same light as it reduces the employer’s control over the employee at a time when the employee might otherwise be particularly vulnerable and dependent on the employer. In fact the primary driving force behind the establishment of ANZASW’s cover was a situation where two employee social workers were denied access to the employer’s indemnity policy and had to face a claim over their professional competence unprotected by insurance.

ANZASW has arranged indemnity insurance on behalf of members since 1995. The Insurance Broker acting on behalf of ANZASW is Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers.  Below is some information with regards to making a claim:

ANZASW Certificates of Currency


Important Notice for Student Members

Student members of ANZASW completing supervised practicum placements as part of their social work education programme are covered by the ANZASW Indemnity Insurance during the placement. Students undertaking casual, formal or part time social service work to supplement their income while studying are covered by the ANZASW Indemnity Insurance providing the work they do is supervised in accordance with their workplace supervision protocols. 

With the introduction of the changes to the Social Workers Registration Act it is more important than ever that Social Workers insurance provides the protection they need.  The changes to the Social Workers Registration Act will change many of the core dynamics of being a Social Worker.  At its heart the Act changes registration requirements, accountability and responsibility.  These prescribe the way Social Workers act; and the simple fact that they represent change equates directly to a rise in exposure for members.  Those that are not cognisant with the requirements of the new legislation, or those that continue to “carry on as before”, may find themselves in breach of the new law and subject to penalty or censure.

Your members have an insurance advantage.  There are many ways that your members will be better off with the insurance they receive as part of their ANZASW membership. Some of these are:

  1. Any new law creates uncertainty as it is bedded in and becomes common practice.  Now enacted changes to the Social Workers Registration Act contains changes that affect your daily lives and activities; some are obvious, and some have ambiguous meanings and nuances.  The impact of these will not be immediately known and there will be little case-history or precedence upon which to reflect and judge.  All this leads to greater uncertainty and therefore greater risk for Social Workers.  Insurance is invaluable during these times and all ANZASW members have it – automatically!
  2. ANZASW has worked closely with Crombie Lockwood to understand the legislation and determine how this might impact member’s risk exposure. Only ANZASW insured members receive the benefits of this direct engagement.
  3. ANZASW insurance is managed by specialists and is uniquely for ANZASW members. In addition members have immediate access to the Legal Advisory Panel. The panel’s early involvement will help members should they need to address exposures created by the new Act.  And it’s free!
  4. The Legislation changes or updates compliance structures, audit and reporting requirements. Insurance needs to be updated to accommodate these.  This is automatic for ANZASW insured members thanks to the work carried out by ANZASW and Crombie Lockwood.  Any changes in the policy to accommodate new job descriptions, occupations or activities have been taken care of.  This ensures ANZASW insurance remains active, current and relevant.  Automatic for ANZASW members!
  5. The Act imposes penalties that may be civil, criminal or statutory in nature. Standard Professional Indemnity insurance is unlikely to cover criminal or statutory exposures and may be limited in how it addresses civil cases.  Your ANZASW insurance has been amended to address these issues and provide support in relation the new reporting requirements in the Act.
  6. The legislation may change interactions with Employers. It is not certain how the new legislation will work between employer and employee.  Only ANZASW insurance has special provisions to engage when matters appear to be employment related but are in fact related to the delivery of professional social work services.
  7. Your Employers may provide cover. Do you know if this covers you, how this covers you and if it has been updated?  The insurance for ANZASW members is personal to each member.  ANZASW members don’t need to rely on their employers supporting them.

Encompassing all of this is that we know that the ANZASW insurance contains the widest cover and comes at an exceptionally low cost for members.

In conclusion – all Social Workers will have an obligation to study and be aware of the new requirements in the Social Workers Registration Act and how it may affect them.  From a risk and insurance perspective ANZASW members will be better off than non-members, as much of this work has been done for them by engaged, specialist agencies.  The cover, cost and service outcomes will be superior; and all at no direct cost to your members.

Non-members will need to achieve this on their own and those that rely of their Employers will likely never know what level of competency has been attended upon the insurance or how much support they can expect from it.  Good luck with that!

ANZASW’s constitution requires all competent (i.e Full) members to be provided protection by the Association’s member indemnity policy, but this has been extended to all other membership categories.  The current insurance policy (and premium etc) is arranged/agreed pursuant to this. The benefits to members of having their own insurance protection, even for employed members whose employer has an indemnity policy, include:
  1. Greater certainty of protection. Comment: the employer may or may not have complied with the conditions of their own policy – it may in fact not be renewed.
  2. The ability to mount one’s own defence independent from the employer. Comment: Often enough in the event of a claim the interests of the employer and employee may be somewhat disparate.
  3. Availability of one’s own limit of indemnity. Comment: the employer’s insurance may be exhausted in defending itself.
  4. Additional unique benefits – such as the cover for ethics hearings, daily allowance for court appearance, the free legal service.
Comment: these would not normally be included in an employer’s policy.
As well as the core policy cover the additional benefits available through the ANZASW scheme represent real value to members, not the least of which is the independence it affords them in the event of a problem arising. Their employers, on the other hand, may not see this independence in the same light as it reduces the employer’s control over the employee at a time when the employee might otherwise be particularly vulnerable and dependent on the employer. In fact the primary driving force behind the establishment of ANZASW’s cover was a situation where two employee social workers were denied access to the employer’s indemnity policy and had to face a claim over their professional competence unprotected by insurance.
Please do not hesitate to communicate with the Association’s Insurance Brokers if you require any further information on the insurance policy.


In concert with the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, Crombie Lockwood have established the Social Workers Legal Advisory Panel.

The Social Workers Legal Advisory Panel has been set up as a unique value added service available to insured Social Workers. The service provides a panel of experienced and approved legal firms to assist members when issues arise that could result in a claim. This helps you get the right advice at a very early stage and ensures you meet the reporting requirements of your insurance.

The purpose of the panel is to allow you to obtain advice from a lawyer should a matter arise that is claim [or possible claim] related. The lawyer will be able to provide advice as to the circumstances of the matter, whether it is [or is likely to become] a claimable event and what you need to do next. They will also directly notify your insurer to start the claim process if this is appropriate.

You should contact the designated personnel from the panel of legal firms for initial discussions and general advice:

  • If you received an indication of any breach or potential breach of professional services.
  • If you have been subpoenaed as a witness.
  • If a client has uplifted their file and intimates that they may claim against you.
  • On other professional issues relevant to claims or potential claims provided under the ANZASW Member’s policy.

The initial reporting and advice is free of charge for all enquiries relating to a claim or possible claim circumstance, up to a limit of $2,500. If the matter develops into a claim that is within the cover of the policy, your insurance will pay for ongoing legal costs associated with defending a claim or possible claim. If you require advice or services beyond claims advice this may be chargeable to your own account. The panel member will give you clear prior advice should this arise.

Your insurance policy has an excess, currently $500, which each Insured member is  responsible for. This is an insurance policy provision and cannot be offset against the free advice offered by this panel. If a claim develops or ongoing legal advice is required the excess will become payable by each Insured member.

The services of the Legal Advisory Panel may be accessed by at 0800 694-294. It is possible [though rare] that the law firms on the Panel may have a prior conflict of interest. If so they will advise you and you should contact Iain McKenzie who will organise alternative legal advice.

Any matters relating to your insurance coverage or policy operation should be directed to the ANZASW’s insurance broker. (Please refer to the Broker Contact Details section of this page)

All members of ANZASW are covered, provided they have supplied an updated annual declaration to ANZASW and that their membership fees are paid and up-to-date.  This includes students and non-practicing members as declared and agreed. Refer to Exclusions

Cover is effective providing you are a member at the time a claim is notified [regardless of when the event that caused the claim occurred].

Two of the more important exclusions are:
  • Cover does not apply to claims or circumstances known or reported prior to a member joining ANZASW or being covered by the policy.

If a member has a break in membership they would not be covered for events that took place in the period of the break. So for example if someone joined in 1990 resigned in 2006 then re-joined in 2012 they would be covered for events that occurred before resignation in 2006 and events occurring after they re-joined in 2012.

  • Claims made against a social worker as a result of any dishonest, malicious or illegal acts.

Advice to members where there has been a break in membership and the SWer is re-applying:

  1. Make application to join ANZASW
  2. Complete the insurance declaration to the best of your knowledge
  3. As a reactivated member they would be covered for any incident that occurred up to the date of their resignation even if it is notified after re-joining ANZASW
  4. Incidents the occurred in the period SWer was not a member would not be covered

Limit of Liability

Refer to the documents at the top of this page

The insurance does not cover Employment Disputes, however it is possible that a dispute with your employer in relation to your conduct as an employee may involve or develop into an element that relates to your professional social work services.

Employment related disputes should be reported  to the Insurance Helpline as there may be cover within the policy if part or all of the allegation is related to your professional social work services.  It is important that you report as early as possible to allow your insurers to act and for you to obtain advice on whether the issue is covered by the policy.

These include:

  • Libel and slander
  • Loss of documents
  • Trade Penalties and related legislation
  • One Automatic Reinstatement

Especially appropriate for members in private practice the policy also offers optional extensions to include Public Liability, Statutory Liability and Employers Liability. These extensions are available at special discounted member rates.

It is a requirement of the policy that an insured must give notice of any claim or circumstances which may give rise to a claim immediately they become aware of the claim or circumstances. If you should become aware of a claim or circumstance please contact the broker.


Each section of the policy is subject to a $500 excess on each and every claim [except Fidelity $3,000 excess, theft by employees]. In the event that a single notification triggers multiple policies, only one excess (being the highest excess) will be payable by the Insured Member.

The policy sections are:

  • Professional Liability
  • General & Products Liability
  • Employers Liability
  • Statutory Liability
  • Legal Prosecution Defence
  • Internet Liability
  • Fidelity

Summary details of each of these policy sections can be found in the ANZASW Members Insurance Cover Summary. For full details of the policy wording contact the ANZASW Office 03 349 0190 or

Crombie Lockwood Insurance Brokers
Natasha Clarke – Senior Broker – Financial & Professional Risks
+64 3 335 3111 | +64 27 293 348 |
Level 2, PWC Centre, 60 Cashel Street, West End Christchurch
PO Box 3020, Christchurch 8140
Ph: +64 3 339 5290

You will hear the following customised helpline message when you call 0800 694294


“Welcome to the ANZASW Legal Advisory Helpline. Please select from one of the following options if you require legal advice on any issue that could give rise to a claim:

  • If you are based in the upper North Island, Taupo and north, press 1 to speak to Duncan  (021 226 3530)
  • If you are based in the lower North Island or South Island, press 2 to speak to Jonathan (021 878 972)
  • If you wish to speak to the Crombie Lockwood Advisor, press 3 to speak to Iain (07 579 7627)
  • If you wish to speak to NZI about a liability claim or notify a new claim, press 4 to speak to Kate (04 903 4249)
  • If you wish to speak to ANZASW, press 5 (03 349 0190)
  • To hear these options again, please press 6 now”