October Communiqué

The SIRA Board held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday 22 October 2020 and received updates on each of the regulated insurance schemes.

Board members discussed the Independent Review of icare and the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015 (SICG Act) being conducted by the Hon. Robert McDougall.  Matters in scope for the Independent Review include:

  • Comprehensive organisation review of icare, having regard to issues recently raised in the media and in Parliament.
  • Review of the government-managed workers compensation schemes (Nominal Insurer and Treasury Managed Fund) and the legislative framework that supports them.
  • Statutory review of the SICG Act.  The review is required by the legislation after five years to determine whether the policy objectives of the SICG Act remain valid and whether the terms of the SICG Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

The Board was pleased to learn that icare is now cooperating more closely and making progress on the 21 Point Plan – though there is much still to do. The Board was informed that work is proceeding on the development of some revised metrics for measuring Return to Work and was advised that a paper on this topic is planned for the next meeting. Board members were also interested to receive and discuss a report which summarised the performance of all insurers in the workers compensation system including specialised insurers and self-insurers.

Board members were updated on SIRA’s submission to the Select Committee which was established in March 2020 to inquire into and report on the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in New South Wales.

Board members discussed the draft recommendations released by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to improve home building compensation in NSW and regulate icare’s prices.

Board members were apprised on the status of the return to office strategy being developed in accordance with the NSW Governments ‘Getting back to work in a COVID Safe way’, noting SIRA is committed to protecting the community, preventing the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to deliver its services and working flexibly.

Board members noted the following consultations which are currently open:

  • New SIRA Psychological injury Standard of Practice for insurers. The updated Standard of Practice outlines SIRA’s expectations for insurers handling claims for workers with a psychological injury.
  • Legal Support review for injured people in the NSW CTP scheme. SIRA is currently reviewing the provision of legal support for injured people in the compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance scheme under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017.
  • Regulatory requirements for workplace rehabilitation service provision in NSW personal injury schemes. SIRA is seeking input from stakeholders on the NSW policy and framework underpinning the approval, engagement and performance of workplace rehabilitation providers.

Trevor Matthews

SIRA Board Chair