February communiqué

Dr Graeme Innes AM, Member of the SIRA Board and Chair of the recently established SIRA Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee, provided a report to the Board from the inaugural meeting of the Committee in early February 2019. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the SIRA Board on matters relating to dispute resolution services for injured people and insurers, across a range of personal injury compensation schemes.

Along with Dr Innes, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the appointed Members of the Committee, namely,

  • The Hon. Mr Greg Keating, recently appointed Member of the SIRA Board;
  • Mr Andrew Stone SC; and
  • Professor Tania Sourdin.

Each Committee Member brings unique knowledge and experience to the Committee, and we look forward to receiving their advice. Further information about the Members is available via the SIRA website.

Dr Abby Bloom, recently appointed Chair of the SIRA Audit and Risk Committee (ARC), provided an update on the February 2019 ARC Meeting. Board Members noted the overview of the Annual Engagement Plan for the audit of the SIRA financial statements for the year ending June 2019 by the NSW Audit Office.

The Board thanked Ms Nancy Milne OAM, Deputy Chair of the SIRA Board and outgoing Chair of the SIRA ARC, for her leadership of the Committee since its establishment in 2016. Ms Milne has been re-appointed to the SIRA ARC as an Independent Member for a further term.

The SIRA Board received a highly informative presentation from representatives of TCorp (NSW Treasury Corporation), the financial markets partner of the NSW Public Sector, on the investment governance and fund performance of the Insurers’ Guarantee Fund (IGF). Discussions on the IGF are held at key intervals to assist Board Members to discharge their responsibilities for the IGF, a statutory fund established under Division 227 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The IGF funds the claim payments of the remaining liabilities of insolvent insurers, and SIRA is responsible for administering the IGF.

Board Members noted SIRA’s continuing development of a strategy to support workers who were affected by section 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987, and will subsequently be affected by section 59A of the legislation (limit on payment of compensation for medical expenses). SIRA is working closely with insurers and relevant stakeholders to identify key initiatives to assist these workers as they transition off medical benefits.

Members were pleased to note that SIRA convened the first in a series of monthly community of practice session with insurers in February 2019. The aim of this Community of Practice is to share experiences, information and co-develop resources to provide support and information for workers affected by section 59A and treatment providers within their respective portfolios.

The Board noted a progress update on the program of work to support the implementation of the dispute resolution amendments featured in the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. It is expected that the final tranches of the program will be completed by June 2019.

Other items discussed at the February 2019 Board meeting included:

  • Board Members Ms Nancy Milne and Dr Abby Bloom provided an update on their attendance at the recent (February 2019) National Heads of Motor Accident Insurance Schemes (HMAIS) meeting with the National Transport Commission (NTC) to discuss the introduction of Autonomous Vehicles and how they will interact with CTP Insurance schemes. Discussion ensued on how current motor accidents legislation would respond, where the onus of proof should lie in relation to liability and what would need to be done to ensure a right recovery against manufacturers. The NTC will incorporate into their recommendations HMAIS feedback on what is critical to consider for motor accidents schemes.
  • Board Members noted an update on 2017 Compulsory Third Party Green Slip scheme monitoring, with the scheme December 2018 quarter insights report to be published on the SIRA website in due course.
  • The Board discussed progress on SIRA’s strategic planning for 2019/20.
  • Members were provided an update on the management of Alternative Indemnity Providers under the Home Building Compensation Scheme.
  • As a standing item, the Board discussed the proceedings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and the recently published Report.

Trevor Matthews
Chairperson, SIRA Board