SIRA bulletin - Issue 21

Issue 21 includes articles on the certificate of capacity/fitness, an independent file review of claims in the 2017 motor accidents scheme, the March Board communique, indexation of weekly benefits for motor accident claims, and updated SIRA forms.

Extension of arrangements for certification of capacity/fitness during the COVID-19 pandemic

Approved treating physiotherapists and psychologists can continue issuing certificates of capacity/fitness in the workers compensation and motor accidents schemes for another 12 months.

Clause 175 of the Workers Compensation Regulation 2016 and 4.64 of the Motor Accidents Guidelines have been amended to provide for a 12-month continuation of the arrangements, allowing treating physiotherapists or psychologists to issue second and subsequent certificates to an injured person if the injury relates to their area of expertise.

A doctor must continue to issue the initial certificate of fitness/capacity to an injured person.

These arrangements support the NSW Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the arrangement in the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) workers compensation claims management guide.

Independent file review of the first 1,000 claims in the 2017 motor accidents scheme

SIRA engaged two independent research institutions to conduct a file review of the first 1,000 claims that entered the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 scheme.

The John Walsh Centre of Rehabilitation Research (JWCRR) and Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI) were allocated 500 claims to analyse.

The files were reviewed at regular intervals over a two-year period focussing on insurer injury management processes, minor injury threshold for soft tissue and psychological injuries, and opportunities for data collection to improve ongoing scheme monitoring.

This review is now complete and the final reports are available on the SIRA website:

Using the information in the reports, SIRA has focussed on improvement in the completion of recovery plans, completion of risk screening within timeframes, provision of early treatment, treatment past 26 weeks, insurer information gathering and data collection.

SIRA Board issues March communiqué

SIRA recently published the communiqué from the March Board meeting.

The Board held its second meeting of 2021 on Tuesday 30 March. Highlights from the meeting are noted below:

  • The Board congratulated Chief Executive Carmel Donnelly on her upcoming appointment as the new Chair of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
  • It was noted that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) revised its supervision model. It was agreed that SIRA would examine the new model to see if there are learnings as part of ongoing enhancement of SIRA’s insurer supervision model.
  • The Board received an update on the McDougall Review of the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015. They also discussed the release of the PwC Independent Review of icare governance, accountability and culture.
  • In the workers compensation area, the Board examined the return to work experience of the Nominal Insurer and the Treasury Managed Fund. They noted with concern the increasing prevalence of psychological injury and the fact that claimants with psychological injuries are not returning to work as quickly as those with physical injuries.
  • After considering a routine CTP scheme performance and monitoring update, the Board discussed a deep dive into the experience of vulnerable customer segments.

You can read the full communiqué on the SIRA website.

Indexation of weekly statutory benefits for motor accident claims – 1 April 2021

Weekly statutory benefits payable under the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 (MAI Act) must be indexed on 1 April each year.

From 1 April 2021, the number used to vary weekly statutory benefits is 1.005.

The Motor Accident Injuries (Indexation) Amendment Order 2021 has been published on the NSW Legislation website.

Learn more about the indexation of weekly statutory benefits under the MAI Act.

SIRA forms updated to reflect the establishment of the Personal Injury Commission

SIRA has updated several existing forms following the establishment of the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) and the expanded functions of the Independent Review Office (IRO).

The following forms have been updated:

  • Continuation of weekly payments after 130 weeks
  • Workers injury claim form
  • Other injury claim form
  • Calculating pre-injury average weekly earnings (for workers with a date of injury before 21 October 2019)
  • Commutation application
  • Permanent impairment claim – exempt workers
  • PIAWE Agreement form
  • PIAWE Reference Guide

These new forms are effective from 1 March 2021. You can find them on the SIRA website now.

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