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icare appoints customer advocate to tackle concerns

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NSW state insurer icare has appointed an independent customer advocate as a review into its workers’ compensation scheme continues.

Many submissions to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) review have criticised the scheme, alleging poor claims management and communication through key agent EML.

As reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au yesterday, a submission by Port Macquarie-based Oxley Insurance Brokers says the scheme is “failing terribly” and is in its worst state for more than 30 years.

The National Insurance Brokers Association has declined to publicly release its submission, but says the views of Oxley are representative of the NSW broker community.

icare says understanding customer needs will be “integral” to its response to the review, and has appointed former Return to Work SA director Darrin Wright as a “dedicated customer advocate”.

“icare is committed to delivering a fairer system for both employers and their injured workers and that includes always listening to constructive feedback,” CEO and MD John Nagle said.

“We have appointed Mr Wright as an independent customer advocate to initially work through the review submissions and engage directly with our customers and stakeholders to ensure we understand what the underlying pain points are and how best to address our customers’ needs, while continuing to improve the fairness of what has historically been an unbalanced scheme.

“We acknowledge that in driving a fundamental change to fairness in the workers’ compensation system we have not always explained the issues and impacts broadly enough, and in a number of cases this has caused unnecessary confusion and uncertainty.

“We welcome the review of the Nominal Insurer and look forward to understanding the findings as we remain committed to delivering a neutral scheme that works for everyone.”

Mr Wright will report directly to Mr Nagle and work with icare’s customer experience team.

He will begin arranging meetings with customers and stakeholders “over the coming weeks”.

SIRA expects the review’s final report before the end of the year.