icare’s latest announcement regarding the ongoing NSW workers compensation reforms hit the market earlier today. icare’s latest changes take effect in 2017 and will impact how businesses, and brokers, approach workers compensation in NSW. icare is “moving closer to our customers, putting their needs at the centre of everything we do”. The latest changes will transform workers compensation insurance in NSW by controlling how businesses (customers) buy and renew their policies via a new online portal.
We have already heard significant speculation regarding what these changes mean and how the industry will evolve as result. So what do these changes mean and therefore what can our clients and brokers expect?
Occupational Asthma (a new-onset asthma in which the underlying cause is exposure to an agent at work) is considered a work related illness and has led to numerous workers compensation claims in different industries over the past decade. Employers are legally responsible for informing their staff of general and specific hazards connected with their job and for providing employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Recent studies show over 40% of workers are exposed to one or more asthmagens in their workplace. According to Safe Work Australia workers in the farming, metal or wood and food preparation industries are most likely to be exposed. Businesses can take steps to minimise exposure to asthmagens in their workplace.
All workers compensation merit reviews issued by icare are potentially subject to administrative law judicial review in the NSW Supreme Court. In this process, a party may seek orders that a decision should be set aside and sent back to icare for a revised decision to be made. Whenever a challenge is finalised and irrespective of the outcome, an assessment is undertaken to consider the impact of the judicial review decision and includes the potential impact of the finalised challenge on the dispute, functions of the Merit Review Service and the scheme more broadly. Of the thousands of applications for workers compensation merit review that have been finalised by icare, there has only been one Administrative Law challenge decided by the NSW Supreme Court.