The great thing about ACC is everyone is covered – if you fall at home, are in a car accident, get hurt in a sports game or fall off the bars at school. ACC will cover you, whether you are at fault or not!
If you hurt someone else through carelessness, you can’t be sued, but they will be covered. But now all this is under attack.
We all pay – some of the lowest “insurance” levies in the world, but unlike in other countries, our schools, sports clubs and businesses etc don’t need insurance and our courts are not full of people suing each other – it makes sense.
The community cares through ACC
We as a community of citizens look after ourselves and each other through ACC and in doing so we all save money and ensure people get the compensation and rehabilitation they need to get well after an accident.
But this concept is under attack. The Social Contract that ACC represents is being undermined by Government changes to the system in a move to bring in private insurers to compete with the ACC scheme.
Internationally ACC is recognized as unique and world-leading. It is now however clearly in crisis mode.
The Board is in disarray — with the chair going and members resigning. And the CEO has resigned.
New, harsh policies and practices around claimants and entitlements — and media stories of targets and performance pay for employees who get long term claimants off ACC– are creating massive discontent.
From the media stories, you could genuinely believe that the new goal for ACC is to not help accident victims but instead to act in a hostile manner against their interests.
Continuous Govt. pressure on ACC
This government has placed continuous pressure on ACC to move towards a private insurance model.
This has included cutting costs and driving up levies through a ‘fully funded’ model — which means that the levies have to cover the estimates of the full cost of current claims, which can be highly variable.
While ACC has a review process – its 45% rate in winning against clients who review their treatment is damning.
In 2009, this rate was only 30% . The increase in this rate clearly reflects the tougher approach to long-term claims.
The Corporation has also failed to protect clients confidential information on a number of occasions. Moving injured people off ACC before they are rehabilitated, ends any chance of rehabilitation for most people and denies them the future good rehabilitation could produce.
We should all care about what is going on at ACC. Anyone of us could need it one day.
All of us will have already used it, probably without thinking, when we have broken bones or had other minor accidents.
Five basic principles
It was set up by New Zealand legend Sir Owen Woodhouse – who set out five principles for its development: –
- Comprehensive entitlement (regardless of fault!)
- Real compensation (lost income and permanent impairment)
- Complete rehabilitation (physical and vocational)
- Community responsibility (in the national interests!)
Administrative efficiency (timely benefits etc).
It was a revolutionary concepts built on decent solid principles – and it is ours to lose if we don’t fight to protect it.