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Motor accidents bulletin - June 2018

In this edition: welcome from the Executive Director Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation, the 2017 CTP Green Slip scheme performance to date, Green Slip scheme quarterly insights now available, our easy guide to how CTP prices are set is available, point to point CTP Green Slip changes are here, insurer internal reviews resolving disputes as early as possible, Green Slip refunds, can telematics make young drivers safer? Our research aims to find out, decisions on disputes to be online, and aligning CTP and Workers Compensation.

Welcome

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, Mary Maini, the Executive Director for Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation at SIRA, a role I took up in December 2017.

I have worked in a wide range of insurance operations focussed on customer experience, leading innovation in person-centred claims-management, focusing on the health and recovery of injured people.

On 1 December 2017, the new CTP Green Slip scheme started. This was a monumental effort from our team at SIRA and many external stakeholders, and will better support those injured on NSW roads. Premium prices have been reduced and motorists are getting refunds.

Our new CTP Assist team is proactively calling injured people to offer help and support throughout their claim.

These achievements are all part of our commitment to better serve and support NSW motorists, and something we’re truly proud of.

This bulletin is also part of that commitment, to maintain regular communication with everyone involved in NSW motor accidents insurance. We plan to publish it once a quarter, with special editions as necessary. It will cover the full range of the scheme, from premiums to significant court decisions.

I’m excited to join SIRA and look forward to working collaboratively with many of you.

Mary Maini
Executive Director
Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation

The 2017 CTP Green Slip scheme. Performance to date.

To the end of April, we’ve now completed five months under the 2017 CTP Green Slip scheme. Insurers and SIRA have quickly adapted to the new scheme’s focus: the optimal recovery of injured people and timely financial support for those who are earners.

In that time, 3,040 claims had been lodged. Of these, 1,087 were not-at-fault claims, 199 were at-fault claims, and 1,754 are yet to be assessed.

Two regular claims reviews with insurers have been completed. The majority of risk screening - the first step in the claims process - is happening within our target of three days after claims are lodged.

For the 2017 and the old 1999 scheme, our claimant and community support service, CTP Assist, has responded to 20,510 phone and email enquiries, connected 1,246 injured people with an insurer and made 13,279 outbound calls to injured people.

There have been 65 insurer internal reviews, six valid disputes lodged with SIRA’s Dispute Resolution Service, no valid lump sum (common law) damages claims and 38 payments to relatives of people who died as a result of motor accidents.

The scheme provides defined benefits for six months, regardless of who caused the accident.

Benefits may continue beyond six months for people with more serious injuries who were not at fault. The right to claim for damages, for future loss of earnings and pain and suffering, has been retained for people with an injury that is not a minor injury.

For more information on scheme benefits head to the SIRA web site.

Green Slip scheme quarterly insights now available

SIRA publishes an update on the Green Slip scheme every quarter.

The latest report, for the quarter ended 31 March 2018, has now been published on our web site. It includes key statistics on the scheme, as well as details of premium trends, insurer reviews and dispute resolution.

It’s available, along with previous reports, from the SIRA web site.

Our easy guide to how CTP prices are set is available

The way Green Slip premiums vary is a puzzle to most people. We’ve created a single-sheet guide to explain the process.

To get your copy, head to SIRA’s web site.

Point to point CTP Green Slip changes are here

One of the reforms to CTP is for point to point transport – taxis and ride share vehicles.

Taxis have already had substantial reductions in their Green Slip premiums under the new scheme – and an average refund of $1,255 per taxi.

From 1 April, we’ve changed the way taxi and rideshare vehicles pay their premium, to move towards a level playing field for the industry.

Premiums are now dependent on kilometres driven, making premiums similar between the different point to point operators and better reflecting their risks.

Taxis have a choice of a fixed annual premium, based on average annual kilometres, or instalment payments, based on actual kilometres travelled.

Ride share vehicles start with a Class 1 premium, like all other private passenger vehicles, then have a per kilometre charge when they’re carrying a fare-paying passenger. The rate for this is 10 cents per kilometre in metropolitan areas and 6.6 cents for trips that start in country areas.

For 12 months from 1 July 2018 the SIRA Fund levy, part of the Green Slip premium, for taxis will be reduced to match that for Class 1 vehicles.

For more details, head to the SIRA web site.

For taxis, we’ve built an online app to see which is the best option.

Insurer internal reviews. Resolving disputes as early as possible.

It’s inevitable that disputes will arise between insurers and people making claims.

For the first time, an injured person can request an insurer internal review which is independent of the original decision maker, allowing the injured person and insurer to resolve a dispute without needing to go to SIRA’s Dispute Resolution Service (DRS).

An insurer internal review is needed before most disputes can be lodged with DRS. This will reduce the number of disputes that DRS must consider and potentially provide a quicker outcome for injured people.

An insurer internal review can be requested by the injured person about a merit review decision, a medical assessment decision or a miscellaneous claims assessment decision. New information received must be considered at the internal review.

The insurer must conduct an internal review consistent with the Motor Accident Guidelines and is to complete and advise the claimant of the results of the review within 14 - 21 days after the request for the review is received.

The first internal reviews were received in March and April this year. This is as we expected, as disputes about insurers’ decisions take some time to arise.

Since 1 March 2018, 65 internal reviews have been lodged with insurers, with 46 resolved by the end of April.

Green Slip refunds

As at 11 May 2018, $100.8 million in Green Slip refunds has been returned to vehicle owners, businesses and taxis, as part of the NSW Government's reforms.

Green Slip prices were reduced for most classes of vehicles from 1 December 2017 when the new scheme started. So, if people purchased or renewed their Green Slip with a start date before 1 December, they may have paid pre-reform prices.

Vehicle owners have until 30 September 2018 to claim their refund. All surplus and unclaimed funds will be returned to motorists through a reduction in the SIRA Fund levy next year.

An advertising campaign has been running across NSW to encourage people to claim online via Service NSW.

For more information go to the SIRA website.

Can telematics make young drivers safer? Our research aims to find out.

Young drivers are among the highest-risk groups on the road. Up to five times more likely to be involved in crashes resulting in serious injury or death according to statistics from Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety.

SIRA has partnered with the Centre to investigate whether telematics – a ‘black box’ for cars – improves driver behaviour in high-risk young drivers.

We’re recruiting 1,000 young drivers from across NSW, with a focus on Western Sydney and regional areas, which are higher-risk parts of the state for motor accidents. Each will have a telematics device installed in their car. The device will track a range of driving parameters: hard braking and acceleration, cornering forces, distances travelled, time of day etc, and upload this data to the cloud for analysis.

Tight rules will be in place to protect drivers’ privacy and all identifying data will be removed before analysis.

The pilot will start in the second half of 2018 and drivers that participate will each be paid $100.

To find out more or sign up for the trial, head to the SIRA web site.

Decisions on disputes to be online

Quick, cost effective and just resolution of disputes between injured people and insurers is a key element of the 2017 CTP scheme, and a key responsibility of. SIRA, through our Dispute Resolution Service (DRS).

To ensure this process is transparent and help avoid unnecessary disputes, DRS will publish Merit Review and Claims Assessment decisions online, accessible to anyone.

A few disputes under the 2017 scheme have been lodged so far, as it has only been operating for four months. As disputes are resolved, decisions will be posted on the SIRA web site.

This also links to court decisions on administrative law challenges to DRS decisions under the 1999 scheme.

Aligning CTP and Workers Compensation

Protecting injured people is the key driver behind the 2017 CTP scheme. It is expanding benefits for up to 7,000 people and ensures injured road users, regardless of fault, can receive statutory benefits shortly after lodging their claim, rather than potentially waiting years as in the past.

Historically, NSW workers’ compensation and CTP schemes were fundamentally different, so legislation was passed to ensure injured road users would not be disadvantaged by claiming through one scheme or the other. As the two schemes are now more similar, with both providing regular payments for lost income, the rules that apply to the interaction between workers compensation and the 1999 CTP scheme are not relevant to the 2017 CTP scheme.

The Government is aware of the potential anomaly created by the alignment of the schemes and is developing amendments to protect injured people’s entitlements under both the workers compensation and the CTP scheme. These will be retrospective to 1 December 2017 to ensure everyone is included.