The NDIS workforce is one of the largest sectors in Australia and increased demand has it growing at unprecedented levels.
The number of NDIS workers needs to increase by 83,000 in three years to keep up with the growth.
Given that registered NDIS Service Providers must have appropriate insurance arrangements in place, the increased demand presents an opportunity for brokers looking to break into a relatively untouched market.
“NDIS Service Providers need bespoke insurance products that factor in their unique risk profiles,” says Jane Mason, Head of Product, Channels and Risk at BizCover for Brokers. “Brokers could get in at the ground floor amid the boom within this critical sector and find a new avenue of customers to advocate for.”
Increased pressure on the NDIS system
The increased demand for the NDIS has come fast and furious in recent years.
How fast you ask?
Well, there were more than 11,600 active NDIS providers as of June 2021, employing more than 270,000 workers across 20 occupations, according to the NDIS National Workforce Plan.
By 2024, the report estimated that around 500,000 participants will require support from almost 353,000 NDIS workers.
Fast forward to just under a year later, and that figure has already blown out to more than 518,000 active participants as of March 2022, according to the latest data.
The reason for this demand is two-fold. Firstly, the NDIS is still relatively young having only been around since 2013. Many of its parameters have been built over the years since, which has increased the scope of the scheme’s support.
Secondly, there is over 4.4 million people with a disability in Australia. And while the latest NDIS minister said ‘we can’t subsidise everyone,’ there seems to be enough demand to grow for many years to come.
This will put pressure on the nearly 18,000 NDIS providers currently servicing the scheme – all of which require mandatory insurance products such as Professional Indemnity and Public Liability.
The importance of combined cover
The ongoing demand for NDIS providers is good news for brokers. These small businesses will need to provide a certificate of currency for both PI and PL insurance when the obligatory NDIS Certification Audit occurs after registration.
Yet there are dangers in the scope of cover available and brokers can ensure their clients have adequate coverage.
This is because the exposure to Professional Indemnity (PI) and Public Liability (PL) risks are intrinsically linked.
“Having separate PI and PL policies can have unintended effects in the event of a claim,” says Mason. “The best way forward with allied health is a combined policy and it’s because there’s an intrinsic crossover between the PI and PL exposure.”
An example of this occurring could be an NDIS-registered occupational therapist that negligently provides their service to a client resulting in a bodily injury.
Traditionally, Professional Indemnity insurance is intended to cover financial loss and exclude bodily injury whilst Public Liability is not intended to respond to claims for injury resulting from a professional service.
Whilst PI policies may contain a write-back to a bodily injury exclusion, providing cover for bodily injury arising from negligent provision of the professional service, this is not always the case. In some situations, the root cause of the injury may not be so easy to identify resulting in a potential allocation dispute between insurers.
For this reason, BizCover for Brokers offers combined PL and PI policies through leading Australian insurers targeted at NDIS providers. More than 1500 of these policies were purchased through the BizCover for Brokers platform in 2021.
“NDIS providers need policies that do more than just tick a box,” says Mason. “Their exposure presents an opportunity for brokers to advocate on their behalf so they are protected if a claim occurs.”
Brokers pride themselves on getting appropriate coverage, which inevitably leads to the conversation about other risks NDIS providers face rather than what is just mandatory.
Registered NDIS providers also require PA cover if they are a sole trader or are otherwise not covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance.
“Others may want a B&O Pack, especially if they have their own premises or if they are exposed to business interruption or tax audit risk,” says Mason.
“The door is open for brokers to take advantage of this surge in the NDIS sector,” says Mason. “You now have suitable products and a business comparison platform that streamlines the broking process to help facilitate that relationship.”
*The information in this article is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. BizCover for Brokers is a registered business name of BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769).