icare continues to make significant progress in the execution of its Improvement Program, according to independent assurer Promontory Australia.
The most recent period has seen icare onboard the final claims services provider for this update of the new claims model, as well as advance its activities to ensure improvement work in place remains sustainable over time.
The Improvement Program was set up following recommendations that came out of the McDougall Review and the Governance, Accountability and Culture (GAC) review in early 2021.
Collectively, the reviews made a set of recommendations to strengthen icare's culture, governance and accountability framework, upgrade icare's risk awareness, risk management and risk capability, and bring about a greater focus on customer outcomes.
Promontory recognised that during the Reporting Period icare achieved a number of key milestones of the Improvement Program. This included Promontory's assessment of a further 21 Recommendations as complete and effective in the period, taking the total number of Recommendations assessed as complete and effective to 48.
Promontory found (as at the Reporting Date) icare had commenced or completed work on:
- the Design Phase for all Initiatives
- the Implement Phase for all Initiatives
- the Embed Phase for 95 percent of Initiatives.
Promontory identified three key areas of focus for this update: embedment of risk profiles and supporting processes, complaints management, and maintaining momentum.
The Report observed that in the period, icare had continued its focus on sustainability in governance forum discussions and had continued to monitor Claims Services Provider (CSP) capacity and capability.
The Report also suggested icare use the end of 2023 to reflect on achievements, such as the relative quantity of work completed across the program, in particular the good progress in the update of the Nominal Insurer’s new claims model with the onboarding of a 6th CSP, DXC.
However, the Report cautioned that to maintain Program momentum in the final phases and to ensure continued delivery of high quality and sustainable outcomes, some identified steps should be taken.
In regards to risk processes, Promontory observed "… interviews with stakeholders indicated that both Line 1 and Line 2 risk teams have a robust understanding of the risk profile and control assurance processes."
However, opportunities exist within specific business initiatives to embed improvements to workflows, controls and obligations. Promontory noted icare was in the process of developing a plan to complete this work.
In regards to complaints management and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Promontory observed that over the life of the Program there had been some challenges to implementation, and acknowledged the scale and complexity of icare's complaints uplift agenda.
However, Promontory also noted a range of achievements of the customer uplift process, with icare developing a range of guidance, systems and processes to support continuous improvement observing that the team had been transparent and accountable about the challenges present, which supported a proactive approach leading to facilitation of a remediation plan.
Finally, Promontory observed that while the Program is well progressed towards the overall Embed stage, it will be important to maintain focus as work still remains to be completed. Ownership, a strong 'Tone from the Top', engaging staff and minimising change fatigue, as well as being clear on Program outcomes were all noted as important to the final stages of completion.
icare Managing Director and CEO Richard Harding said he was proud of the Program's continued progress, but that this report was a good reminder that there was still much work to be done.
“While we have delivered major improvements that support workers with physical and psychological injuries, we are still hard at work. The successful onboarding of a sixth Claims Service Provider into our new claims model is the latest milestone of improvements.”
"We want to make sure we continue to improve in all Program facets right up until the end."
"It is terrific that we have been able to close a further 21 Recommendations during this period, but we can't stop there. Our focus remains on embedding ongoing, sustainable change into all our operations and we are going to continue to drive to achieve it."
Promontory will continue to provide quarterly updates on icare's progress in executing the Improvement Program. These updates are published on this website.