Tom Goudkamp responds to Actuarial and Insurer concerns about the unintended decrease in non-minor injury claims since the implementation of the Government’s Motor Accident Injuries Act in this interesting blog.

In mid November 2019, four persons from Finity Consulting gave a presentation to the Actuaries Institute Injury and Disability Schemes Seminar. The Finity presentation was entitled ‘The Vanishing – where did the NSW CTP claims go?’ .

I was not present at the seminar and the only document published about this presentation is the six power point slides[1] but the title alone is of concern.

The third slide in the presentation is headed ‘vanishing claims’ and includes a graph showing that minor injury claims had increased from 1.2 claims per 1,000 vehicle in 2010 to 2.0 claims per 1,000 vehicles in 2016 and then decreased to just under 1.1 in 2018. However the text also suggests that there has been a ‘surprising reduction for non-minor [the more serious] claims’ and a statement that non-minor claims are 29% lower than 2015-2017 and 25% lower than 2010-2011.

The fourth side is headed ‘who is not claiming?’ in these non-minor injury ‘vanishing’ claims and answers this with a flow chart and text which suggests two main groups:

  1. Claimants from a non-English speaking background (those who need an interpreter). There has been an 86% reduction in claims making frequency from 2010-11 to 2018;
  2. Claimants under 55 (including children) living in lower socioeconomic areas (based on their postcode) with the most disadvantage. There has been a 34% reduction in their non-minor injury claims.

The fifth slide is headed ‘why are people not claiming?’ and gives four reasons said to be informed by the change in claimant profile and interviews with stakeholders. These reasons are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Complexity
  3. Perception of value and
  4. Incentives

With regard to awareness, I can recall Minister Dominello trumpeting the reduction in greenslip price and heralding the refund (of up to $100) on the greenslip price for the 2017/18 year which are of course of interest to the motoring public of NSW but I do not recall a single advertisement highlighting the benefits of this scheme to the injured persons of NSW. What is, for example, being done to raise awareness of the scheme to at-fault drivers? Where are the advertisements in the Al-Furat , Daily Chinese Herald or other non-English language newspapers of Sydney?

In terms of complexity as a personal injury lawyer of over 40 years I have never seen a more complex scheme than this one. If lawyers are having a hard time comprehending this scheme how are members of the public, insurer claims officers and SIRA staff navigating it?

The perception of value concept is one which our Belinda Cassidy wrote about recently in terms of the perception of value by the greenslip paying public, but the injured person would also be concerned in that if injured and a worker they get paid 80-95% of their lost earnings (not 100%) and getting treatment, care and respite involves daily battles with insurance company claims staff whose first response is ‘no’ for fear the scheme may collapse.

Is the point about incentives a reference to bonuses which might be paid to insurance company claims staff when claims are rejected or denied? Or is this a reference to an absence of incentives to make a claim (such as a lump sum at the end of it) which is closely tied to the perception of value. Why put yourself through so much frustration and stress to get what you are entitled to when you can make a claim on medicare, use up your sick leave and annual leave and struggle through with the voluntary assistance of friends and family members.

If you are concerned about access to benefits under the Motor Accident Injuries scheme then drop a line to Minister Dominello or, write to your local member because Minister Dominello should be aware of these statistics due to his well publicised love of data analytics.

[1]https://www.finity.com.au/publication/injury-and-disability-schemes-seminar-2019-where-did-the-nsw-ctp-claims-go

Written by Tom Goudkamp OAM

Tom Goudkamp OAM is the Managing Director of Stacks Goudkamp. He has over 40 years of experience of successfully bringing compensation claims for people injured in motor vehicle accidents.