Our approach to regulation during the COVID-19 crisis
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) aims to ensure that the insurance and support systems we steward are easy to deal with and deliver protection, recovery and restoration entitlements and good outcomes at an affordable price and in a sustainable way.
At this time, SIRA will significantly focus its regulatory efforts on adapting and responding to the impacts of COVID-19. SIRA is taking a common-sense approach to its advisory, compliance and enforcement activities. These activities will focus on matters that present potential or actual harm to injured people and policy holders or risks to scheme sustainability and integrity. All matters of non-compliance will be assessed using a risk-based approach.
For example, SIRA is proactively renewing or extending most workers compensation self and specialised insurer licences that are due for renewal up to the end of 2020 for a period of one year. This decision ensures business continuity and reduces regulatory burden. SIRA will increase supervision and regulatory action to mitigate any insurer risks at this time as required.
SIRA is committed to working constructively and pragmatically with scheme participants. SIRA will be working closely with its scheme participants over the coming weeks and months.
You can find more information about SIRA's COVID-19 response on our website.
Engagement with our stakeholders is a priority
SIRA is committed to continuing and strengthening its engagement with stakeholders and has held extra discussions focused on COVID-19. SIRA will continue to communicate with stakeholders to provide advice and support and to hear your views so we understand the extent and impact of COVID-19 on policy holders, insurers, providers and injured people. Engagement will be conducted by digital means instead of face to face to protect the safety and wellbeing of all of us. Any stakeholder is welcome to get in touch with us at email@example.com if you have any suggestions or concerns you would like to raise with SIRA.
In the last few weeks, SIRA’s workers compensation team has met with peak employer organisations representing small businesses in NSW. The team also joined a webinar hosted by the NSW Self Insurance Association which had over 50-self insurer representatives. Feedback and input received from stakeholders will help to inform current and future regulatory actions.
Reporting on COVID-19 workers compensation claims
SIRA is now reporting COVID-19 related workers compensation claims on its website using data provided to us by insurers. The data is updated daily.
As at 3.00pm, Tuesday 7 April 2020, SIRA has been advised of a total of 126 workers compensation claims and notifications of injury in NSW. SIRA is closely supervising how insurers manage these claims.
Changes to how disputes are managed
There have been changes to how motor accident injury disputes are being managed at SIRA’s Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). To align with public health advice, all claims assessment conferences will be conducted either on the papers, by teleconference or video conference.
SIRA's website includes details of the new procedures for parties to a dispute in both the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 scheme (1999 scheme) and the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 scheme (2017 scheme). This webpage will be continually updated with any changes to DRS processes.
For parties to a dispute in the workers compensation system, the Workers Compensation Commission’s website provides information about changes to the management of workers compensation disputes.
Understanding the experience and recovery of people in our schemes - survey postponed
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Understanding the experience of recovery of people in our schemes survey that was being conducted by the Social Research Centre has been postponed. The survey was designed to help SIRA better understand the experience and recovery of people in the workers compensation and compulsory third party (CTP) insurance schemes.
SIRA acknowledges that some people who made a workers compensation or motor accident insurance claim may have already received an invitation to participate in this survey. On 20 March 2020, letters were posted to some people who made claims in 2019. SIRA apologises for any inconvenience.
SIRA will consider undertaking this research at a later time.
SIRA is continually updating the website with information about its response to COVID-19.