The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) licenses specialised insurers under the Workers Compensation Act 1987 to underwrite workers compensation risks for employers of a defined industry.
SIRA’s Specialised insurer licence conditions outlines matters a specialised insurer is required to notify SIRA of, and respective notification timeframes. This requirement allows SIRA to monitor, from an early stage, legal or financial matters, or matters that may be of public interest, which may have a significant impact on the operation of the NSW workers compensation system and/or on a specialised insurer.
This document outlines the notification requirements and provides the notification form specialised insurers are required to use.
A specialised insurer must:
- notify SIRA of a significant matter within the timeframe specified in section 4 of this document
- provide SIRA with any information relevant to the notification of the significant matter, including any originating process at the time of notification
- provide SIRA with any additional information relating to the progress and outcome of a significant matter within the timeframe specified in section 4 of this document
- notify SIRA of other matters within respective timeframes as outlined in the licence conditions
- provide notification to SIRA by completing and forwarding the approved notification form provided in Appendix A.
Specialised insurers are required to notify SIRA of any significant matters pursuant to the licence conditions, including any matter that:
- involves the death of a worker
- is or may be media sensitive
- may be regarded as significant because it involves, for example, litigation that may have significant implications for the workers compensation system.
The following are considerations for a specialised insurer when determining whether a litigation should be regarded as a significant matter to notify SIRA of. Does the litigation:
- have the potential to impact on the NSW workers compensation system, or to set or alter a precedent relating to the NSW workers compensation system
- involve complex questions of law
- give rise to constitutional issues
- involve an appeal to the Workers Compensation Commission, or an appeal to the Court of Appeal or to the High Court, or an application for special leave to the High Court
- seek judicial review of an administrative decision (in particular, where a party seeks an order for the issue of writs of certiorari, mandamus or prohibition or orders in the nature of certiorari, mandamus or prohibition), or
- involve questions of statutory interpretation of the workers compensation legislative system, in which arguments are made about the intention of the provisions of that system; potential impacts on the NSW workers compensation system, or to set or alter a precedent relating to the NSW workers compensation system
In addition to notification of significant matters, section 190 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 requires a Licensee to notify SIRA of specific events relating to the financial viability of the specialised insurer.
Where a timeframe is not stated within the workers compensation legislation or the licence conditions, specialised insurers should notify SIRA within five business days of becoming aware of the significance of the matter.
Specialised insurers must provide SIRA with any further information relating to the progress or outcome of a significant matter within one week of further information becoming available.
Review of matters
Once notified of a significant matter, SIRA will review the matter and take action as necessary, including:
- monitoring the significant matter
- seeking further information on the significant matter, particularly where matters are required to be reported to or as directed by the responsible minister
- maintaining watching briefs over significant litigated matters
- seeking leave to intervene in Workers Compensation Commission proceedings pursuant to section 106 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 (1998 Act) or seeking leave to intervene or appear as a friend of the court in other litigated proceedings
- liaising with specialised insurers and advising in relation to matters of significance to the NSW workers compensation system.
Where information is provided to SIRA, the information is protected by provisions in the 1998 Act and may only be disclosed externally in very limited circumstances. These provisions do not inhibit SIRA’s ability to:
- create comparative data to conduct research and assess the performance of the workers compensation scheme
- publish de-identified statistical, performance and research reports
- provide information to the responsible Minister or as directed by the Minister
- provide information to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
Apart from these protections, personal information or health information provided to SIRA can only be dealt with in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
Although the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) creates a presumption in favour of the disclosure of government information when an access application is made, this can be overcome where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. GIPA provides a specific public interest consideration against disclosure of information held by SIRA if (amongst other things) disclosure of the information could prejudice the business interests of any person or corporation.
GIPA provides a mechanism for consultation with a person or corporation if an access application is made for information that concerns the business, commercial or financial interests of that person or corporation. Any objection to disclosure received in the course of consultation must be taken into account in determining whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Any decision by SIRA to make available that information contrary to an objection made in the course of consultation would be subject to a right of review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner or by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Requests for further information should be directed to:
Manager – Licensing and Monitoring
Workers Compensation Regulation
State Insurance Regulatory Authority
92–100 Donnison Street, Gosford, NSW 2250
Locked Bag 2906, Lisarow, NSW 2252
Phone: 13 10 50
Catalogue No. WC01641 © Copyright State Insurance Regulatory Authority 2015