Herald on ACC

July 2nd, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A sensible editorial from the NZ Herald:

The careless language and loose accusations in ’s internal exchanges were probably the reason the minister took drastic action. It was an insight into a culture that has been been too hard on some categories of claim, especially those requiring surgery, as Herald investigations had found. Too many rejections of those claims have been reversed on appeal.

But it would be too easy to replace that culture with one at the other extreme. ACC cannot be an automatic entitlement with no questions asked. It is an unusual system, copied by no other country, in its uncritical attitude to the cause of injury. “No-fault” compensation may be a good way to save lawyers’ fees but the same unquestioning principle could not be applied to medical assessments. When ACC seeks a second opinion, though, its medical officers must not influence it as they clearly tried to do in the Pullar case.

ACC is funded by employers, motorists and taxpayers as insurance against sudden disability. It offers cover that ordinary commercial insurance provides elsewhere. Since New Zealand has to be competitive it is vital that ACC’s costs are not out of line with workplace insurance in other places. It has to ensure it is paying out only for genuine injuries and for loss of income only for as long as the claimant is genuinely unable to work.

Exactly. You don’t want ACC assuming all long-term claimants are rorting the system, but equally you don’t want ACC just paying out lifetime earnings to anyone who thinks they are eligible.

As a public insurer, ACC has to be rigorous.

But it should also be sensitive, fair, considerate and dignified in its dealings with people and its discussions about them.

That is as far as the culture change need go.

It is a tough balancing act, but that is it – to be rigorous and fair.

3 Responses to “Herald on ACC”

  1. trout (1,132 comments) says:

    Unfortunately as long as ACC is a Government Department the socialists will demand that largess be distributed to all and sundry on a whim. They seem to be hell bent on expanding ‘entitlement’. They also want to get their hands on the reserves put aside for funding the long term support of today’s accident victims, and make the scheme a ‘pay as you go’. If only they could give this propostion the same analysis as they did the ‘pay as you go’ pension. The accumulating cost of the ‘tail’ (which increases in numbers – as will the elderly) over time would make ACC unaffordable as a quazi insurance company. I guess ACC would then just become another taxpayer funded welfare agency – perhaps that is the plan.

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  2. KH (707 comments) says:

    I don’t think the thing can be made to work at all. Maybe it’s inherently a dog.
    Mr Woodhouse, no fault, and ‘leading the world’ etc etc might have all been an illusion. Maybe it was always going to come to this.
    Maybe we need to get real, and get back in line with the rest of the world.

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  3. GJM (99 comments) says:

    No fault my ass.
    Ask any motorcclist who causes most of the motorcylcle accidents and injuries, esp those invovlign other vehcles and it will by SMIDSYs (Sorry Mate, I didn’t see you)
    Then look at the regsitration cost (driven by ACC tax) and it’s division.
    Then of course there is desel cars and vans – drivign a diesel station wagon is obviosuly much more dangerous than it’s petrol equivelent, and likewise for a diesel vs eptrol powered van.

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