Insurance Companies to Take a Hit in NSW Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation Scheme

Posted at Legal Practice Intelligence - 7 November 2016

The Baird regime, that wields power in NSW, has found yet another group to turn into its enemies: insurance companies that manage the CTP insurance scheme.

The recent list of disenfranchised include those adversely affected by forced local council amalgamations, privatisations galore (including Land & Property Information) and the greyhound racing industry.
Up until recently it was the injured and their right to legal representation that were going to be the casualties of cost cutting measures in order to keep down green slip prices. This of course involved ousting lawyers as much as possible from the system. All of a sudden the NSW Government has started referring to the money that CTP scheme insurers are making as "super profits".

Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation announced on Friday 4 November 2016: "Sun to Set on Insurer 'Super Profits'."

The NSW Government today released a discussion paper for feedback aimed at reining in excessive insurer profits and creating a fairer and more affordable scheme for NSW motorists and injured road users.

Currently only 45 cents in every Green Slip dollar goes to injured road users, with the rest going to scheme costs including insurer profits and legal fees.

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said that insurer profits are unacceptably high and result in motorists paying higher Green Slip premiums.

“Since the current NSW CTP scheme was introduced in 1999, insurance companies have made an average profit margin of about 20 per cent,” he said.

"We are determined to put an end to the days of insurer super profits. Our reforms will provide Government with greater powers to regulate these profits so that more money goes to injured road users. The changes will also see a significant reduction in premiums for motorists.”

The discussion paper includes a number of regulatory and administrative changes that are already in train, as well as seeking feedback on additional legislative changes to wind back insurer profits to a reasonable level.

Mr Dominello also announced the appointment of Dr Graeme Innes AM as a member of the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority Board.

Dr Innes was Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner from December 2005 to July 2014 and during this time also served periods as Australia's Human Rights Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner. Dr Innes was Chair of the Disability Advisory Council of Australia, and the first Chair of Vision Australia.

“Dr Innes has a wealth of experience both as a lawyer and disability advocate. He understands the challenges faced by those who are injured and will advocate for a scheme that protects injured road users and ensures they have optimal outcomes,” Mr Dominello said.

Further information on the discussion paper, including how to make a submission is available at Submissions close 25 November.

Criticism of Sale of Land and Property Information

NSW Greens MP, Justin Field, is calling for a halt of the sale of the Land and Property Information (LPI) unit until the security of the title system can be assured. The sale of the LPI appears to be so chaotic that recently over 200 families may have unknowingly purchased properties in the path of major road projects planned for Sydney.

Bruce Langley, a senior employee with  fifty years of service with the LPI told Fairfax today, the LPI has been in a "complete state of chaos" since it was split into five units and gutted of 70 employees in July, ahead of the Baird government's sell-off.

"The administration units were divided and responsibilities changed as the minister transferred personnel from government employee positions into a privatised model," said Mr Langley.

"The Baird government is putting at risk the homes of families across the state in order to rush through its latest privatisation of an essential public asset," said NSW Greens MP, Justin Field.

"The first the community knew about the sale of this world-class asset was when the legislation was rushed through the lower and upper houses within a 24 hour period in mid-September. The sale should be halted in order to ensure we don't have another 200 families sold properties in line for compulsory acquisition or facing huge road developments next door and so the sale itself can be scrutinised."

"The community is right to ask why the rush, what does the government know that we don't? Clearly the rush has led to errors and they need to be investigated before any sale process proceeds.

"The public's concerns are not eased by the companies lining up to buy this essential asset like defence and intelligence multinational the Carlyle Group. The government has questions to answer about the due diligence it will do to ensure the public are not put at greater risk by the sale."

"The security of home ownership rests in very large part on the fact that we can have the utmost confidence in the land title system.  That security just took a hit so the sale must stop until these questions are answered," concluded Mr. Field.


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