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SIRA refers conduct at icare to ICAC: report

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The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has referred conduct at icare to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), an investigation by the ABC Four Corners program and The Age/Sydney Morning Herald says.

The report, which highlights performance and financial issues at icare, says leaked internal documents detail claims of credit card theft and concerns about disclosure of international trips and how some contracts have been awarded.

It also says SIRA CEO Carmel Donnelly has commissioned accountancy firm EY to investigate icare’s numbers, particularly its valuation of liabilities, and raises questions over risks to the insurer’s solvency.

SIRA declined to elaborate on any ICAC referral when contacted by insuranceNEWS.com.au today.

“As the regulator of workers’ compensation in NSW, SIRA investigates performance issues and allegations of non-compliance and takes regulatory action as necessary to hold all insurers to account for the services and outcomes they deliver for people injured at work in NSW,” Ms Donnelly said.

“As a chief executive in the NSW public service, I am aware of, and actively discharge my obligations under NSW integrity legislation.”

icare has defended its performance and says it has achieved $2.4 billion in savings and financial benefits since its formation in 2015, including lower employer premiums and better operating efficiencies.

The insurer says it’s also working on improving its financial performance amid a difficult environment and rejects any suggestions it has major issues.

“On top of lower investment returns, the significant impact of COVID-19 has hit us and financial markets globally hard,” it says in a statement on its website.

“Despite the challenges the NSW Auditor General has found our premium income consistently runs ahead of our outgoings. Our finances are in a healthy state.”

The ABC and newspaper report mainly focuses on the performance of icare, while also highlighting issues at WorkSafe in Victoria.

As reported previously by insuranceNEWS.com.au, the Victorian Government last year said it would review the outsourcing of complex claims to agents that include insurers after Ombudsman Deborah Glass criticised the scheme for failing to deliver “just outcomes” to too many people.

See ANALYSIS.