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November communiqué

The SIRA Board held its November meeting in SIRA’s Oxford Street office. This provided the opportunity for Board Members to meet with SIRA people after the meeting and participate in another ‘Conversation with the SIRA Board’ panel session. Staff quizzed the members on various aspects of their roles and gained insights on their personal experiences and vision for SIRA. I and my fellow Board Members enjoyed the opportunity and trust that those present in person or via the live webcast to people working at SIRA’s McKell Building and Gosford offices did also. I look forward to more sessions like this in 2019.

The SIRA Board was very pleased to welcome its latest appointee, Mr Rod Stowe PSM for his first Board meeting and we look forward to working with the Hon. Judge Greg Keating at the upcoming December meeting, once he formally joins the Board on his retirement as President of the Workers Compensation Commission. This follows the recent announcement by the Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello MP regarding the two new appointments and reappointments of existing Members.

At the November meeting, Ms Nancy Milne, OAM, Chair of the SIRA Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Premium Committee of the Board, provided an update on the late-October and November CTP Premium Committee meetings and an overview of the Committee’s advice on a number of items. Members discussed and noted the peer-reviewed report provided by the Independent Actuaries Ernst & Young, on their premium parameter review and the peer review report by Independent Actuaries, Taylor Fry.

The Board approved revisions to Part One of the Motor Accident Guidelines (MAGs) which under the legislation, can only be amended with the approval of the SIRA Board. Schedule 1E in Part One of the MAGs sets out premium parameters guidance for insurer premiums, and based on the Independent Actuarial advice, the Board approved a revision to the premium parameters, to be effective from 15 January 2019.

Board Members noted the out of session approval by the Board of a reduction in the SIRA Fund Levy to all vehicles for a 12-month period, of up to $10. The Board also approved the distribution of a reduction of up to $3 in the Life Time Care and Support (LTCS) General Fund Levy to apply to policies effective from 15 January, noting advice that the icare Board approved a reduction in the funding required for the LTCS General Fund Levy. These approved changes to the levies will also take effect from 15 January 2019.

All of the above changes will be incorporated into the revised Schedule 1E of the Motor Accident Guidelines, bringing the central point of the target premium range down from $528 to $499 from 15 January 2019.

The Board endorsed the consultation draft Medical Dispute Assessment Guidelines 2018 with final approval to be sought by the SIRA Chief Executive following targeted consultation. Members also endorsed a recommendation to revoke the WorkCover Interim Payment Direction Guidelines to be formally revoked by the SIRA Chief Executive by January 2019.

Following discussions at the October meeting, the Board approved the proposed membership of the Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee of the SIRA Board.

Other items considered at the November 2018 Board meeting included:

  • The Board approved SIRA’s consultation draft icare supervision strategy and noted the proposed memorandum of understanding between SIRA and NSW Treasury in relation to oversight of the insurance and compensation schemes administered by icare.
  • The Board noted a ‘health check report’ on the medical costs relating to workers compensation claims through the nominal insurer.
  • The Board was provided an update on Home Building Compensation scheme reform.
  • The Board was provided an update on the development and implementation of Regulations and Guidelines to support the commencement of the dispute resolution amendments featured in the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 which was legislated on 17 October 2018.
  • The Board approved the consultation draft SIRA Transitional Excess Profit and Loss (TEPL) Mechanism Guidelines to be released shortly for consultation.
  • Board Members noted an update on the implementation of section 39 and section 59A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Members had the opportunity to consider the progress to date on developing a strategy for workers transitioning off medical benefits under Section 59A.
  • The Board was provided an overall schedule of key governance activities for 2019.
  • As a current standing item, the Board discussed the Financial Services Royal Commission proceedings and any potential actions SIRA should take to enforce compliance by insurers in the mandatory insurance schemes which SIRA regulates.

Trevor Matthews
Chairperson, SIRA Board