December communiqué

Prior to the December Board Meeting, Members were very pleased to briefly join SIRA staff in end of year celebrations. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with staff and thank them for their contribution to SIRA’s achievements of 2017.

I also took the opportunity to acknowledge Ms Carmel Donnelly’s recent confirmation as Chief Executive of SIRA, which was wholeheartedly endorsed by the Board. The Board also congratulated Dr Rhys Bollen on confirmation of his appointment as Executive Director, Workers and Home Building Compensation Regulation.

At our meeting the Board approved the final Home Building Compensation standard licence conditions, application guidelines and notification requirements for licensed insurers and licensed providers in anticipation of the planned commencement date for the Home Building Amendment (Compensation Reform) Act 2017 on 1 January 2018.

Board Members received an update on the roll-out of the new Motor Accident Insurance (Compulsory Third Party) Scheme, which commenced on 1 December 2017. The Board welcomed advice that the “go live” was successful, including the launch of additional new Scheme content on the SIRA website as part of a strategic communication campaign. Additional information has been made available promoting both Dispute Resolution Services and the new online portal which has been made available to aid the community in lodgement of dispute applications.

The Board approved the Motor Accident Premium Refund Guidelines, which will advise Insurers on the method for calculating refunds for motorists/eligible policy holders and the related administration. A public information campaign is scheduled for early 2018 to provide motorists/eligible policy holders with advice on arrangements for the refunds.

Subject to final technical/editorial changes, the Board approved the 2018 Workers Compensation Annual Performance Report. Providing information on the 2016/17 financial year, the Board noted the Report utilises the latest available data from insurers as at June 2017, and includes NSW data collected by Safe Work Australia. SIRA is committed to providing timely reporting on the performance and status of the workers compensation system, and expects to release the report in January 2018.

Board members received an impressive presentation by the icare Chief Executive Officer and other icare executives on the progress with scheme agent transition, the introduction of a new claims operating system, and the valuation of the liabilities for the workers compensation Nominal Insurer scheme managed by icare.

The Board was provided with a monthly update on the implementation of SIRA’s strategy relating to section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. Members noted the work to ensure operational arrangements are in place.

Other items considered at the December 2017 Board meeting included:

  • The Board approved SIRA’s Strategic Plan for activities up until December 2018, and noted the plan will shortly be made available on the SIRA website.
  • Board Members noted work has commenced on developing and implementing a Claims Administration Manual for Insurers under section 192A of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The Manual will provide an accessible and transparent claims handling framework outlining best practice principles, expectations and standards for claims management processes and practices.
  • Members were advised that a review of the existing suite of workers compensation Guidelines will occur concurrently with the Claims Administration Manual development, with amendments to ensure all Guidelines are current and valid, with key issues identified by stakeholders addressed where appropriate.
  • The Board had the opportunity to review a forward schedule of items for their consideration to June 2018.

Trevor Matthews
Chairperson, SIRA Board