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icare extends EML contract, plans tender

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NSW state insurer icare has extended EML’s workers’ compensation claims services provider contract for 12 months ahead of a tender planned for the middle of next year that could increase the number of agents.

The insurer has also formed a new advisory committee, including unions, industry groups and government bodies as it adjusts existing workers’ compensation claims services and undertakes wider consultations.

EML was appointed the sole workers’ compensation agent for new claims under a contract starting January 2018, when icare controversially moved from five scheme agents to one.

The 12-month extension to the contract, which was due to end this year, will ensure continuity and stability during the consultation and tendering processes, icare says.

“The tender will be informed by the outcomes of the consultation period, which will include an assessment of the appropriate number of agents in the NSW scheme,” Group Executive of Personal Injury Rob Craig said today.

“While we are improving our processes, delivery and transparency, our aim is to also ensure minimal disruption to our customers.”

The extension includes a $20 million targeted investment program and contains claims service changes, including reduced caseloads and team sizes, training resources, moving of some areas to EML and triage changes to ensure claims that need more support have a dedicated case manager.

“Getting people back to work and life after injury as soon as possible is paramount,” Interim CEO Don Ferguson said.

“We recognise that claims management services to injured workers and employers has not always met expectations and needs to change.”

The Nominal Insurer Advisory Committee membership will include representatives from Ai Group, Unions NSW, Business NSW, the CFMEU, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), Office of the Small Business Commissioner and Workers Health Centre.

Further details on industry consultations and the claims service provider tender process will be provided by icare early next year.