• Murray McCully
Accident Insurance

1 What happens if my employer doesn't have an insurer?

Whether it is delivered by the ARCI Corporation or by a commercial insurer, workplace accident insurance will remain compulsory to protect workers and ensure comprehensive cover.

Officials are still working on the details of the appropriate regulatory environment. But the Government will ensure that workers will receive at least the current entitlements if this happens. There are several options to ensure compliance, e.g. through IRD data, and OSH monitoring of insurance certificates.

Those employers not insured would face penalties, while those who showed that they could not find an insurer could have one assigned to them who would be required to charge an actuarially fair price.

2 What if my employer buys cheap insurance?

Insurers will not be allowed by law to offer contracts that contain benefits less than those spelled out carefully in legislation, including provisions for social rehabilitation and work capacity procedures.

It is possible that benefits offered by commercial insurers may deliver a greater level of rehabilitation and compensation than currently available because insurers may put together new insurance packages that meet particular needs, or that cover more than just injury insurance.

3 Will I still be covered if I was injured before July 1999 but I don't claim until after that?

Yes. You would lodge the claim with ARCI Corporation, which will cover all injuries that occurred, even if not reported, before the changes that come into effect on 1 July 1999

4 If I am permanently injured at work, what happens?

Your employers' insurance would cover the cost. You would receive at least what you get under the current system, and perhaps more, depending on the type and level of cover your employer has bought.

5 If I am permanently injured out of work, what happens?

You would still be covered as you are now, through the premiums you pay as a percentage of your earnings or, if you are not in paid work, the Government meets the cost of your injuries.

6 Will there still be provisions such as social rehabilitation?

Yes. You would receive at least what you get under the current system.

7 What happens if I am injured in my lunch hour?

This is defined as a non-work injury and the Earners' Account would cover you (no change).

8 If I change jobs, what happens to my insurance cover?

You will be covered by the insurance of your new employer.

9 I'm a fruit picker and the work comes and goes, what happens to my cover?

It remains as it does now; you are covered while you are in work by the ACC Earners' scheme for any injuries you receive outside work, and covered by your employer's insurance while you are at work.

If you are not working at all then you are covered by the ACC Non-earners' scheme.

10 Am I covered if I don't do paid work outside of the home?

Yes - as you currently are, by the Government funded Non-earners' scheme.

11 What if I'm self-employed for just a few hours a week?

You will be required to purchase insurance (as you are now) but with this proposal, you would be able to shop around for a one-stop-shop insurer who will now be able to give you workplace and non-workplace accident insurance coverage.

You are likely to get more certainty over the level of your income compensation.

12 Will my privacy be protected?

Insurers must stay within the law, including the Privacy Act.

13 What happens if an insurer goes bust?

A guarantee fund will be established to meet the costs of any claimants whose insurer has become insolvent.

Officials are currently working on how that would be funded. The Government will also make sure there are strict regulations governing the entry requirements of those allowed into the market.

14 How much will the Government be involved in the future delivery of rehabilitation and compensation?

The ARCI Corporation will still be managing new accident claims in the Earners, Non-earners and Motor Vehicle accounts as well as all existing claims, so it will still be involved in prevention, rehabilitation and compensation.

The Crown will also own a competitor in the ACC Employers' Scheme.

15 Will this new system cost the premium payer (employer/self employed) more?

Employers' premiums will reflect the risk of injury to their employees, so they are likely to go up for some, and reduce for others. However, premiums will also reflect the injury prevention programmes they have in place thereby creating a strong incentive on employers to focus on preventing injuries.

16 What if I have a dispute over my insurance cover?

ACC legislation will specify dispute resolution requirements. These will include quick, fair and low cost dispute resolution processes including recourse to the District Court.