Insurance Commission puts injured Western Australians on $700 million road to recovery
26 September 2019
The Insurance Commission paid out over $700 million in 2019 to help tens of thousands of Western Australians return to work and the community following a car crash or workplace accident.
Its annual results (published 25 September) show that it received over 30,600 new claims during the year and managed claims valued at $4 billion, including anticipated future claims expenses of $3.3 billion.
Rod Whithear, Insurance Commission Chief Executive, says: “We play a quiet but important role in most Western Australians’ lives. We’re the State’s insurer covering 1.9 million motorists, 120,000 state government employees and $55 billion of government assets.”
In 2019, the Insurance Commission received 11,300 new motor injury insurance claims. The number of new compensation claims increased 5.3% (169 claims) from 3,191 in 2018 to 3,360 in 2019. This partly contributed to claims payments being $57.1 million higher at $448.5 million than the $391.4 million paid in 2018.
Rod Whithear says: “Over 11,000 injured road users claimed against our motor injury insurance during the year, and close to half a billion dollars was paid to people injured in crashes and the service providers delivering their care and support.”
Spine and neck (4,333 injuries; $130.1m payments) followed by upper limbs (1,397; $58.5m) and lower limbs (1,342; $80.7m), were the most common injuries reported in motorists’ insurance claims.
Injury claims involve costs paid to help a person recover and return back to work and normal life. Care accounts for 39% ($1.2b) of current and future motor injury claims costs, ahead of compensation (31%; $956m) and hospital and medical (13%; $389m).
The Commission also continued its efforts to help injured people in remote areas who may not have convenient access to the services required to help them finalise their claims.
The regional claims trip to the Kimberley and Pilbara, where claimants are met in person, was extended to the Goldfields. In 2019, this customer service initiative assisted 53 claimants obtain compensation for their injuries, paying out over $3 million.
Public sector claims
The Insurance Commission also provides a range of government insurance services. During the year, it received 19,328 new claims and paid $254.9 million to claimants, service providers and agencies across all its funds and schemes. Although there were fewer new claims (1,280 or 6.2% less than 2018), claim payments were $18 million higher than the year before.
Rod Whithear comments: “The continued reduction in total new claims is a desired outcome, as it indicates Government agencies are managing their risks.”
Virtually all (99%) claims were made against the RiskCover Fund, the self-insurance arrangements of the WA Government. The fund supports 120,000 state government employees at 111 agencies deliver critical services to the community and provides compensation when injury and adverse events occur.
The most common injury type for workers’ compensation claims was upper limbs (1,661 injuries; $46.8m payments) followed by lower limbs (1,120; $37.0m) and trunk and back (864; $28.2m).
To provide for the care and rehabilitation of claimants, the Insurance Commission works with hundreds of service providers across WA from hospitals to house modification specialists.
In 2019, it paid for over 525,000 services, including: almost 100,000 physiotherapy appointments; over 80,000 visits to the doctor; and around 70,000 vocational rehabilitation sessions.
The Insurance Commission’s community engagement program aims to prevent or minimise the risk of injuries, which helps keep its claims costs down and premiums affordable.
Rod Whithear says: “We continued to promote the Belt Up seat belt campaign in 2019 by working with community sporting clubs to get the road safety message out. The simple fact is that seat belts save lives and lessen injuries but not everyone wears one.
“We also partnered with service providers and hospitals to fund research designed to increase the independence of people injured in car crashes and at work.”
Contribution to the State
The Insurance Commission contributed $264.9 million to Government in 2019 in dividends and RiskCover Fund return of capital payments. This included amounts that relate to 2018.
In the last five years, it has contributed $795.7 million to Government in dividend and return of capital payments and $2.2 billion in net debt reduction.
For additional data, please download the full media release.
Further information on the Insurance Commission’s performance and activities in the last financial year is available in its 2019 annual report.