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Brokers urged to speak out for NSW review

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The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) has called for members to detail their experiences with the NSW workers’ compensation scheme, as a regulatory review examines problems highlighted by businesses.

CEO Dallas Booth says there is anecdotal evidence of premiums soaring after relatively straightforward claims, while members have also raised issues with claims handling and other operations.

“We want members to put hard examples forward so the reviewer can get a clear idea of precisely what is going on,” he told insuranceNEW.com.au.

NIBA’s submission will also seek more clarity around the overall financial performance of the scheme, which recovered ground last financial year after reporting a loss of nearly $1 billion in 2017.

“We believe it will be important for the review to look at the financial and funding position of the scheme, as well as its day-to-day operations,” Mr Booth said.

“These are important issues we need to be clear about.”

The NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has appointed Janet Dore, a former Victorian Transport Accident Commission CEO, to conduct a compliance and performance review of workers’ compensation arrangements managed by icare.

Ms Dore, also an independent member of the SIRA compulsory third party premium committee, is supported by actuary EY and SIRA officers.

The review was commissioned earlier this year and has now reached the public consultation phase.

The Nominal Insurer scheme managed by icare accounts for about 65% of active claims in the state’s workers’ compensation system.

The NSW Business Chamber, which last year called for an urgent inquiry, says the review provides an important opportunity to address concerns.

“We have received many reports from businesses across NSW complaining of poor administration when it comes to workers’ compensation,” CEO Stephen Cartwright said.

“These include a lack of appropriate checking of claims, lengthy delays and poor advice and support for both employers and employees.”

The review will include work undertaken on icare’s behalf by its agents EML, Allianz and GIO.

In 2017 icare selected EML as its sole workers’ compensation agent for new claims, starting this year. CGU and QBE ceased services in 2017, while GIO and Allianz continued as transition agents.

icare says it is always supportive of reviews and looks forward to receiving the findings.

“Reviews are standard practice and part of our regulatory environment,” a spokeswoman told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “It is an opportunity to display our successes and progress in transforming the scheme since icare’s formation.

The public consultation will close on June 14, with the report to be published at a date to be determined later in the year. The discussion paper is available here.