To say that 2020 has been unpredictable is an understatement. A year that started with the turmoil and challenge of national bus devolved into the rapidly changing and worrisome COVID-19 era, marked by social distancing, panic buying and the requirement for unique, creative responses from all workplaces to keep both their employees and customers safe.
Amidst this uncertainty, recent concerns regarding the transparency, efficiency and suitability of the NSW workers insurance scheme icare has added a layer of complexity for employers. An independent report to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (NSW) published in June 2020 found the new claims model introduced in 2018 has contributed to a significant deterioration of their service “through poorer return to work rates, underwriting losses, no competition and therefore, concentration of risk.” Other media reports indicate a concerning financial situation, which must inevitably lead to concern amongst employers about the rising economic and human cost of getting their people back to work.
Many employers are already consumed with the task of keeping employees working from home connected, safe and productive. The dual impact of COVID-19 and these financial risks leaves employers under pressure, vulnerable and at times unsure of where to turn for help. With the future of icare and COVID-19’s continued impact on society both uncertain, there are a few immediate options available to help navigate these concerns.
Employers may benefit from:
- Remaining transparent and staying connected with their workers. Demonstrate to your staff that you acknowledge the challenges this situation presents, and that some staff will struggle more than others. Provide recognition and appropriate support for vulnerable staff.
- Seeking expert advice and support when managing difficult claims. This can be achieved by engaging an external workers compensation insurance and risk solutions firm to complement your workers compensation insurance, to ensure your claims are being managed economically, fairly and professionally. If your insurer is handling a claim, you can also request that the investigation is undertaken by your preferred investigation provider.
- Preparing for workers compensation claims and investigations. Support your workers by helping to make the claim process as efficient as possible. Monitor your risks, document all incidents and retain good records. Make all the necessary documentation and relevant evidence available to the insurer and investigator upfront, prepare a documented summary of events for the investigators immediately so your story is clear from the outset.
- Some injuries, particularly those involving alleged bullying or harassment, are suitable for a more detailed and complex workplace investigation. You can choose to independently investigate these matters using an external workplace investigator who can provide a more detailed analysis of cultural issues or opportunities for improvement, and draw conclusions often not available from a workers compensation factual investigation which is aimed strictly at determining the claim.
The LKA Group, including our specialist workplace service WISE Workplace, is uniquely positioned to assist employers in these uncertain times as we offer a suite of services that include workers compensation factual investigations and surveillance, independent fact-finding workplace investigations and disciplinary investigations.
Our investigation methodology has adapted to recent changes, with ongoing training for all our investigators in remote interviewing skills as well as digital information security. This ensures ongoing safety for employees and peace of mind for employers.
If your workplace would benefit from some guidance in how properly conducted investigations can help provide stability, we can assist. Contact us on 1300 580 685 to talk about your needs.