icare announces selection of claims service providers for workers compensation
This is the next step in a major reset that will improve outcomes for injured workers, give employers greater choice of providers, and increase financial sustainability over time.
icare today announced a significant milestone in its program to improve workers compensation with the selection of six Claims and Injury Management Service Providers to manage claims.
Following a comprehensive tender process, icare has selected Allianz, DXC, Employers Mutual Limited (EML), Gallagher Bassett (GB), GIO and QBE to manage workers compensation claims for the NSW Nominal Insurer.
Today's announcement is part of an extensive improvement program underway at icare to improve outcomes for injured workers and businesses.
It builds on actions that have already occurred including recruitment of more case managers to improve support for injured workers, piloting a 'first response' service for small to medium employers that support early return to work planning, and launching of a Professional Standards Framework that provides case managers with learning and career pathways to further strengthen industry-wide capability, expertise and capacity.
NSW Minister for Finance and Employee Relations, Damien Tudehope said the changes are designed to lift competition between providers to drive improved performance, leading to better care for injured workers.
"Appointing this mix of quality claims service providers builds new capability and capacity in the system and is a key step towards providing a more targeted response to the growing number of psychological claims."
Acknowledging the significant rise in psychological claims, icare is exploring the future appointment of a dedicated psychological claims provider to deliver innovative and targeted psychological claims services. At the same time, icare is establishing an internal team that will develop and trial new approaches to psychological claims that can then be rolled out to all claim service providers.
icare CEO and Managing Director Richard Harding said improving outcomes for people with psychological injuries was contingent on understanding the vastly different challenges they face.
"Research shows one in five Australians experience mental-ill health in any given year. Considering mental health issues are now the most common diagnosed long-term health condition in Australia, and are a growing proportion of workplace injuries, it's essential we respond with specialist care to ensure these workers get back to health and work as quickly as possible.
"Four of the six claims providers will provide specialist psychological claims capability with skilled and experienced case managers dedicated to managing psychological claims. We'll also bolster our approach to psychological claims management with an internal team dedicated to improving psychological claims outcomes and potential additional appointments to our claims provider panel in the future.
"These changes will enable icare to drive better outcomes as icare will be publishing performance results, which will drive competition and make it easier for businesses to choose the claims providers who can give their injured workers the best care and support to help them return to health and work."
Stakeholder consultation on the new claims model began in 2021. The engagement included a Market Study on potential service providers, a survey on the NSW Government Have Your Say website, and interviews and focus groups, with valuable input from injured workers, businesses, unions, industry groups, service providers and the community.
Subject to contract execution, the changes will be progressively implemented from early 2023, with more details to be provided over coming months.
Contracts with current Claims Service Providers Allianz, EML, GIO and QBE will end on 31 December 2022 and the new contracts will commence on 1 January 2023. The new contracts will be for up to 10 years, subject to provider performance. Further providers may be brought on to the panel at a future date.
Considering feedback from a range of stakeholders and lessons from past experience, the changes will be rolled out in a staged approach over the next two years to minimise impact on injured workers and employers.