October communiqué

At its meeting on 11 October 2016 the Board endorsed the first Workers Compensation System Performance Report.

This Report is intended to provide stakeholders with data and information about trends and key issues impacting the workers compensation system.  It includes a range of measures that reflect the statutory objectives of the system, including:

  • effectiveness - that injured workers receive care and medical treatment to support their return to work as soon as possible
  • efficiency - benefits for injured workers are delivered at the lowest feasible administrative cost
  • viability - the financial viability of the system
  • affordability - the cost of the system to the community.

The 2016 Report, which will be published on SIRA’s website, includes the following key outcomes:

  • the return to work rate has improved while the cost of premiums has reduced
  • the number of claimants receiving weekly benefits has reduced while the average amount paid per claimant has increased
  • disputes lodged with the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) have slightly increased over the past two years.

SIRA intends to annually update the Workers Compensation System Performance Report, and is developing a discussion paper to consult stakeholders on how best to measure the customer experience of injured workers and employers.

Other issues considered at the October 2016 Board meeting included:

  • The Board approved the key issues in the re-design of the CTP Scheme premium system. A key feature of the proposed new system is the establishment of a “risk equalisation mechanism” (REM). The REM is intended to ensure that very low and high risk CTP policies are equitably distributed across insurers, both to reduce opportunity for excessive insurer profits and achieve fair and affordable premiums for motorists.
  • The Board also agreed to review the Medical Care and Injury Services levy at its next meeting. This levy is applied to CTP premiums to fund the Lifetime Care and Support Scheme and SIRA’s costs of regulating the CTP Scheme.
  • It is anticipated the levy, which is expressed as a percentage of CTP premiums, will be decreased in response to recent premium increases.
  • The Board approved the investment strategy for the workers compensation Insurers’ Guarantee Fund. This Fund was established to provide benefits for workers in cases where the insurer has been declared insolvent. It currently funds claims of several insolvent insurers that operated under the pre-1987 privately underwritten system.

Trevor Matthews

Chairperson, SIRA Board