The recent announcement by the Victorian Ombudsman -Ms Deborah Glass– to investigate the management of Workcover claims is definitely very worthwhile initiative. For years, injured workers and their representatives have faced workcover Insurer representatives who just say “No”, no matter what!
This often means that the injured has to go through a prolonged process of legal proceedings before finally receiving their proper entitlements. This can mean no income for months and in some cases, even years.
And , of course many injured sods are scared by the prospect of going to court and the financial risks involved. The workcover Insurers obviously use this fear to their advantage. Their big pockets allow them to become big bullies indeed!
Diary of a Workcover Victim Supports Vic Ombudsman Investigation into Workcover Insurers
aworkcovervictimsdiary welcomes the Vic Ombudsman investigation which we believe, but certainly hope, will help injured workers recover earlier with the help they so much need and deserve.
Media statement as per Ombudsman:
The Victorian Ombudsman has commenced an ‘own motion’ investigation into the management of workers compensation claims in Victoria.
The investigation will look at whether WorkSafe agents have unreasonably denied liability or terminated entitlements for people who have suffered injuries in the workplace; and whether agents did this for financial incentives offered by WorkSafe. The investigation will focus on agents’ use of Independent Medical Examinations. Whether WorkSafe is providing effective oversight of agents and their claims management will also be reviewed.
The investigation is the result of many complaints about WorkSafe agents to the Ombudsman: 370 complaints in the 2014-15 financial year. The most common related to claims decisions and processes, including failures in decision making and failure to consider evidence. The second most common complaint related to payments, with complainants registering dissatisfaction with issues around decision making.
The WorkSafe agents include Allianz, CGU, Gallagher Bassett Services, QBE and XChanging.
The Accident Compensation Conciliation Service annual reports for the last three years have shown increases in the number of requests for conciliation of 13.6 per cent (2012-13), 5.2 per cent (2013-14) and 0.2 per cent (2014-15).
Ms Glass is not available for interview.
[Post dictated by WCV and manually transcribed on her behalf]