Karina Goodall our motor accident Practice Group Leader poses the question ‘Who is your Green Slip with and why?’ and answers it in the light of some interesting data coming out of SIRA.

Who is your Green Slip with and why? The usual answer when I ask this question, and I do ask this question a lot, is ‘because that is what the car came with’ or ‘that is who I have my property damage insurance with’. Sometimes people will say ‘because it was the cheapest one on offer’.

If you then asked me, ‘who should my Green Slip be with and why?’ I would say, you need to understand the two reasons for the Green Slip’s existence and appreciate the concerns of the two sets of customers or stakeholders in the Green Slip scheme.

The first group of customers are the 5.7 million motor vehicle owners in this state[1] who purchase a Green Slip. For them, the Green Slip policy covers their vehicle, no matter who is driving it (even if it is stolen) for the costs associated with any claim made by anyone who is injured by that vehicle (be they a pedestrian, cyclist, driver or passenger in your or another car) and there is no excess. The second group of customers are the 12,000 or so people a year who are injured in a motor vehicle accident and who make a claim on a Green Slip insurance policy. For them, the Green Slip scheme provides weekly income and support benefits, treatment and care and limited access to lump sum compensation.

For the motorist, price is the only thing that matters because the Green Slip policy is a compulsory product which pays the same amount to an injured person regardless of which insurer is paying, because the benefits the injured person is entitled to are defined and controlled in the legislation[2].

For the injured person the price of the Green Slip is irrelevant because in most cases they will not be claiming against their own Green Slip policy but against someone else’s. The only time an injured person would be claiming against their own Green Slip would be if they were a driver of or passenger in their own car and their car caused the accident. In all other cases an injured person makes a claim against the Green Slip insurer of the other vehicle or that at-fault vehicle that caused their accident and injuries. So the pedestrian makes a claim against the Green Slip Insurer of the vehicle than ran them over, the bicycle rider makes a claim against the Green Slip insurer of the car that turned right across their path, the passenger injured when the driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree makes a claim against the vehicle owner’s insurer and the driver of the car run into from the rear while stopped at traffic lights makes a claim against the vehicle that rear-ended them.

What is important to the injured person who makes a claim would probably include the ease of making and pursuing the claim, the support and assistance provided to recover and the level of disputation engaged in by the insurer. You might think of others.

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) licenses five insurers to sell Green Slip insurance namely AAMI, Allianz, GIO, NRMA and QBE. If the price of your Green Slip is the only thing affecting your choice of insurer, ring SIRA (1300 656 919) or go online (www.greenslips.nsw.gov.au) to find out which of these five offer the cheapest Green Slip and trust me, it does pay to shop around.

If you have an accident and it wasn’t your fault, you have no way of controlling which of the five insurers will deal with your claim. The insurer managing your claim will be the insurer of the vehicle that caused your accident.

If you have family or friends that you regularly drive around in your car and you are the perfect driver, driving in a perfect world where every other driver is perfect then you won’t care who your Green Slip insurer is because, as the perfect driver, no one is every going to make a claim against you. But if you are a human being driving in the real world, where you might make a mistake and cause an accident, when your car is occupied by your nearest and dearest, then something other than price might motivate you to choose your Green Slip insurer. I would suggest you want an insurer who is going to get your kids the best recovery possible, an insurer who is going to pay your spouse’s income while they cannot work and do so quickly and pleasantly.

How can you work that out? Well, for the first time since the NSW Government privatised the CTP insurance market more than 30 years ago, the Government has produced some data which might help you choose your CTP insurer. Entitled ‘CTP Insurer Claims Experience and Customer Feedback Comparison’ this document it can be found on the SIRA website[3]. Using a rudimentary scoring system of green thumbs up (for a good result) and red thumbs down (for something not so good) this is what it tells you:

  • NRMA rejects more claims (4%) than the other insurers and gets a 👎🏻<, AAMI, Allianz, GIO and QBE each get a 👍🏻
  • Allianz and NRMA pay medical expenses before a claim is actually made in more cases (78%) that the others and in 95% of claims they have made payments by the 4th week after the car accident. They both get a 👍🏻 while the others get a 👎🏻
  • Allianz pays income support payments (to ‘earners’ whose earnings are affected because of the accident) in 44% of cases within 4 weeks after the accident and in 88% of cases within 13 weeks. GIO are also at 88% and both deserve a 👍🏻 whereas the other insurers are below the industry total of 87%.
  • NRMA has the highest number of decisions disputed by injured people at 919 per 100,000 Green Slips which scores a 👎🏻 whereas AAMI has only 316 disputes per 100,000 Green Slips which deserves a 👍🏻. Allianz and QBE are below the industry average and also get a 👍🏻 whereas GIO is above the average and attracts a 👎🏻. Disputed decisions are subject to internal review by other people in the insurance company and in only 23% of cases did that internal review change in favour of the injured person.
  • In the 19 months during which the data was collected, there have only been 67 compliments lodged with SIRA about insurers but 361 complaints of which only 22 were referred to SIRA’s compliance Enforcement and Investigation team. NRMA has both the most compliments and the most complaints but then they issue more Green Slip polices and have more claims made against them than the other insurers.
  • NRMA has more complaints about delays than the other insurers whereas there are more complaints about AAMI’s service that the other insurers. QBE has the same level of complaints about purchasing (presumably the cost of the Green Slip) than the other four insurers put together so I will give each of those three a 👎🏻 and the others get a 👍🏻.

On my rough and ready thumbs up, thumbs down guide and on the limited data available I would rate the Green Slip insurers this way:

NRMA     👍🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

AAMI      👍🏻👍🏻 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

QBE        👍🏻👍🏻 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

GIO        👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 👎🏻👎🏻

Allianz    👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 👎🏻

There are probably some other data measures that could be used and of course there is always qualitative customer service surveys which could be employed to find out what injured people really think.

[1] According to the ABS motor vehicle Census 2019 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/9309.0Main+Features131%20Jan%202019?OpenDocument

[2] The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017

[3] https://www.sira.nsw.gov.au/resources-library/green-slip-resources/publications/ctp-insurer-claims-experience-and-customer-feedback-comparison

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no obligation assessment of your claim, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or make an online enquiry.

Written by Karina Goodall.

Karina Goodall is a Practice Group Leader at Stacks Goudkamp specialising in motor vehicle claims, superannuation and TPD claims.