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ACC Monopoly Delivers Body Blow To Farmers

13 December 2004 PR 225/04
ACC Monopoly Delivers Body Blow To Farmers

Farmer confidence in ACC has been dealt a blow after the monopoly insurer said it would increase farmer levies by nearly a third, much more than earlier indicated, said Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

In August ACC proposed and consulted on the following increases for a self-employed farmer earning $30,000 in the year beginning July 1 2005:

- an 11 percent increase in premiums to cover injuries at work;
- a nine percent increase in overall farmer premiums (work, non-work and pre-1999 claims levy).

Today came disturbing news that the increases will in fact be much worse. According to figures from ACC's website, the final increases are:

- a 30 percent increase in work premiums;
- a 22 percent increase in overall premiums.

"These ridiculous increases are on top of earlier large rises. Over three years to 2005/6 the levies paid by self-employed farmers will have increased 105 percent for work premiums, and 63 percent for overall premiums," Mr Pedersen said.

"ACC has given no public justification for the increases, apart from saying that farmers deserve to pay more because they have a poor accident record.

"Farmers agree that they need to improve their accident record. But all the evidence suggests that the accident rate on farms has stabilised in recent years, which hardly justifies these massive increases.

"Federated Farmers has always been aware that farmers need to work on improving prevention of accidents -- and farmers have been. More than 10,000 farmers have attended Farmsafe courses, a joint initiative between ACC, Federated Farmers and other agricultural organisations, over the last 18 months.

"Given all the work that farmers have done to improve safety, we are confident that work premiums would not have doubled in three years if the accident insurance market had been operating in a competitive market," Mr Pedersen said.

ENDS

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