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Brokers Say ACC Scheme Needs To Change

10 July, 2002

In the lead up to the election, the Corporation of Insurance Brokers of New Zealand (CIBNZ) is urging political parties and the voting public to think hard about the merits of competitive provision of accident insurance in New Zealand.

Chief executive of the CIBNZ, Malcolm Congdon, says for the short time that insurance companies provided competitive workers compensation insurance, the number of accidents decreased by 40 %, average premiums reduced and rehabilitation times were shorter than had ever been achieved before.

"The fact that 72 workers have been killed in the year to June 2002, is a sad and tragic indictment on the current system. A large part of the reason we were given for the change back to a monopoly ACC system was supposedly for workers safety. This is clearly not working", he said.

Malcolm Congdon says the competitive scheme allowed insurance companies to send strong signals to employers about the costs of not having safe workplaces.

"Strong incentives existed for safe workplaces. This was done through premiums being specific to the risk experience of a business, through to 'hands on' assistance where necessary with risk evaluation and minimisation strategies", he said.

"Many of our broker members were involved in injury prevention and rehabilitation while the scheme was competitively underwritten, and they could see first hand the benefits to the businesses they worked with."

Malcolm Congdon says the CIBNZ believes it is important that any scheme maintains the 24-hour, no fault cover, to prevent the same costly litigious problems of other countries, such as Australia and the USA.

"Legal costs account for over 40% of the liability costs in Australia and the Plaintiff lawyers are apparently doing very well out of that environment," he said.


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