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December communiqué

At the December meeting, the SIRA Board welcomed its most recent appointee, the Hon. Judge Gregory Keating, who officially joined the Board following his recent retirement as President of the Workers Compensation Commission.

A principal objective of SIRA in exercising its functions is to provide for the effective supervision of claims handling under NSW workers compensation legislation. Board Members discussed the comprehensive SIRA review of the current claims handling framework for workers compensation in NSW, and acknowledged the contributions of stakeholders in developing Standards of Practice (Standards) for insurer claims management and conduct.

The Board approved the Standards for publication this month, with the expectation that insurers will adhere to the principles set out in the Standards from 1 January 2019. SIRA will work closely with insurers during the coming months to implement the new Standards.

Members noted that the related Workers Compensation Guidelines are being amended to incorporate feedback received during public consultation. The Board expects to consider the revised Guidelines out of session, for publication by the end of 2018 and commencement concurrently with the Workers Compensation Dispute Resolution reforms on 1 January 2019.

The Board was delighted to consider the significant customer-centred achievements which mark the first anniversary of the 2017 Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme. Members noted key facts about the impact of CTP reforms.

Members noted a summary of findings in an interim report on the Young Drivers Telematics Trial, which commenced on 5 July 2018. The Board was encouraged to note early positive indicators that young drivers modify their behaviour when given feedback about their acceleration, braking and cornering, however further data collection is required before we can draw firm conclusions that may affect road safety policy and/or CTP insurance.

Board Members noted that SIRA has prepared a draft submission on behalf of the NSW Government, in response to the National Transport Commission’s Motor Accidents Injury Insurance and Automated Vehicles – Discussion Paper which was released in October 2018. Submissions were due on 12 December 2018, with the discussion paper available on the National Transport Commission website.

Members noted the culmination of work on a SIRA-wide complaint handling policy, and endorsed the policy for publication.

As a regulator, SIRA’s purpose is to hold insurers and service providers accountable so that insurance and support systems are easy to deal with, deliver protection, recovery and restoration entitlements, and good outcomes at an affordable price and in a sustainable way. The Board discussed a number of risks and regulatory action in relation to insurer service delivery.

The Board was provided an overview update on key people and culture strategic priorities, as identified in SIRA’s 2018 Strategic Plan. Members were encouraged to hear about the progress made on SIRA’s People Matter Employee Survey Action Plan, including a recently launched pilot of Teamgage to capture frequent feedback from staff.

The Board continued its consideration of SIRA’s strategic planning for 2019/20 and beyond, and endorsed the SIRA strategic planning framework.

Other items considered at the December 2018 Board meeting included:

  • Board Members noted the September 2018 CTP Green Slip Scheme Quarterly Insights Report, which was recently published on the SIRA website.
  • The Board endorsed further work in 2019 to review the Workers Compensation Operational Fund contribution framework, which will include assessing whether deemed premium income is an appropriate mechanism for determining contributions for self-insurers.
  • The Board noted a progress update on Regulations and Guidelines to support the commencement of the dispute resolution amendments featured in the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2018.
  • The Board was provided an update on Home Building Compensation Scheme reform.
  • As a standing item, the Board discussed the Financial Services Royal Commission proceedings and potential actions SIRA should take to enforce compliance by insurers in the mandatory insurance schemes which SIRA regulates.

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank everyone associated with SIRA for your efforts during a busy and successful year and wish you all the best for the holiday season.

Trevor Matthews
Chairperson, SIRA Board