New laws have been passed in Victoria which allow the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS) to hear and make binding determinations on disputes not resolved by conciliation.
Under these laws, injured workers will be able to have their dispute arbitrated by the conciliation service in an informal manner, and more quickly than it takes to conclude most court proceedings.
Under the laws, a hearing must start within 30 days of the dispute being referred to arbitration. Once an application for arbitration begins, a hearing will generally finish within 60 days, with a determination made within two weeks of the hearing concluding.
What does this mean to insurers and employers?
- Insurers will need to ensure adverse decisions are sustainable so that they will not be overturned through the arbitration process.
- Employers will need to monitor their insurers, to ensure they are gathering the right information to support their disputes.
What does Insurance House think about these changes?
The Workers Compensation team at Insurance House see these changes as a positive move. They believe that they will benefit both the injured workers and employers. They’ll also allow quicker resolution of claims, without the need for referral to the courts. Also, the costs to defend adverse decisions should reduce, as solicitor and court costs will be removed from the process.
The new arbitration system may impact on the way insurers and employers approach the conciliation process and their decision making. This may result in a reduction in the number insurer adverse decisions if the arbitration system proves to support injured workers in their quest to achieve faster resolution of disputes.
How can Insurance House support employers through this process?
If you have workers compensation claims, then these changes will likely impact you.
Insurance House can aid employers with coordinating strategies with your insurer to help ensure they are not making adverse decisions which are not sustainable. We can also assist employers with the new arbitration process.
If you would like support with your Workers Compensation program please contact
Mark Farrugia, Head of Workers Compensation,
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