While motorcyclists in NSW have good reason to complain about the high price of greenslips (CTP), the Motor Accidents Authority have pointed out that many riders are paying more than they need to because they don’t shop around.
You can check out the Motor Accidents Authority greenslip price calculator to compare the prices from all currently licensed Green Slip insurers’ (but not their agents)
The CTP battle
The NSW Government has been attempting to ram through changes to the CTP (Greenslip) scheme. While the existing scheme is expensive and less than ideal, the proposed changes are increasingly looking devastating for innocent victims of road trauma.
These changes will affect ALL ROAD USERS (drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians) of ALL AGES (children and adults).
Below is a potted history of the battle so far … and some useful information in files at the bottom of the page.
The NSW government has decided to dump the CTP reforms!
Drivers win from CTP bill dumping: oppn
The CTP steering committee are now considering submissions. Information can be found here: engage.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/ctpstrategy
Please follow the link and have our say.
Finance Minister Greg Pearce has been stood down by the Premier.
The Australian Newspaper story here
The MCC of NSW had a very productive meeting with the Christian Democrats yesterday and we reviewed the finer points of the proposed Greenslip Amendments, the impacts that they will have on injured people and alternative options for reducing costs by focusing on the insurers costs and business procedures.
Here is an interesting insight into the current CTP Greenslip system that the NSW government wishes to change.
The Victorian Scheme deficit was hotly denied by Janet Dore of the TAC at the roundtable and it is a debatable point indeed.
The comments below are from the Bar Association and are not the work of the MCC of NSW.
One thing it does highlight is the fact that the claimed benefits of the new scheme are already available but they are not being implemented by the MAA
CTP SCHEME PERFORMANCE – THE REALITY
The CTP issues paper repeatedly points out that NSW CTP premiums are more expensive than other states.
It is also claimed that the scheme is less efficient. It is claimed that the NSW scheme is slow to deliver benefits. What is missing is a fair presentation of the evidence and a proper analysis as to why NSW is different.
NSW CTP premiums are more expensive than Victoria and Queensland. There are a number of reasons why. They include:
1. NSW offers significantly better benefits than are available to accident victims in Victoria and Queensland; and
2. The NSW Government allowed a $50 increase in premiums earlier this year which other States did not permit
Queensland It is important to note that they do not have a Lifetime Care and Support (LTCS) scheme.
In NSW we look after those catastrophically injured in motor accidents irrespective of fault.
In Queensland they do not.
If the Federal Government continues to push through the NDIS and NIS then ultimately Queensland premiums will go up significantly to cover the cost of catastrophic injury for at fault drivers.
This will add over $100 to premiums.
Further, in Queensland the Government has rejected repeated requests by insurers to significantly lift premiums.
The Government is mandating lower premiums in a way which the NSW Government has not been prepared to do.
Take these factors into account and the Queensland premium would be similar to NSW.
Victoria has a Government-run no fault scheme. Last year it ran a $1 billion deficit.
If the Victorian Scheme operated so that there could never be the risk of a deficit (i.e. as applies with private underwriting) and if Victorian motorists had to pay a premium that delivered a 10% profit to private CTP insurers then their premium would be similar to if not greater than NSW.
In short, comparing apples with apples the schemes are similarly priced compared to the benefits on offer and once Government underwriting is removed.
The Issues Paper claims that the NSW scheme is far less efficient than those in Victoria and Queensland.
The truth is that the schemes have similar efficiency levels.
The Issues Paper repeatedly says that only 50c of the premium dollar collected ends up in the hands of the claimant.
It fails to say that another 10% goes to paying medical bills and the like for the benefit of the claimant.
Further, the NSW efficiency rate is calculated by stripping out lifetime care payments – treatment expenses paid to the most seriously injured.
The efficiency rates for Queensland and Victoria include these payments.
Given their relative size (damages awarded) compared to administrative and legal fees these are amongst the most efficient claims.
In effect the NSW efficiency rate is being artificially downgraded by removing a category of claims that are amongst the most efficiently processed.
Once treatment expenses and lifetime care claims are added back in the NSW efficiency rate is comparable to other states.
One of the claimed advantages of the proposed statutory benefits scheme is speed of payment – earlier payment for treatment and payment of weekly benefits.
These are already features of the NSW scheme.
At present everyone can access up to $5,000 in payment for treatment expenses and lost wages.
Innocent accident victims are entitled to an early admission of liability after which treatment expenses keep on getting paid.
There is even provision for periodic payments to cover wage loss by way of advance on damages.
The problem with the current system is that insurers routinely delay making payments.
That isn’t going to change and with the reform proposal the situation will get worse because:
· No lawyers will be available to assist claimants in fighting for their rights to treatment and lost wages;
· Of the requirement that each and every dollar spent on treatment be pre-approved by the insurance company.
Rather than stripping lawyers out of the system and leaving vulnerable claimants to fend for themselves, the Motor Accidents Authority (MAA) should be focussing on making existing provisions within the current scheme work. The MAA has failed to ensure early admission of liability, avoid baseless allegations of contributory negligence and reasonable advance payments by insurers.
Innocent accident victims are making significant sacrifices in order to obtain this existing “benefit” of early payment.
The payments being made for lost wages are only 80% of pre-existing income from three months after an accident.
Who can keep up their mortgage and maintain their family budget with a 20% drop in income whilst at the same time struggling to recover from significant injury?
The current CTP scheme is comparatively priced, comparatively efficient and can deliver benefits effectively.
Christopher James Burns
MCCofNSW Dirt Bike Committee
NSW Government backs down from 15% cheaper CTP promise at yesterday’s roundtable meeting.
Daily Telegraph story here
Thanks to the actions of a lot of people we managed to get the Government to the table and to get all the other players involved to discuss the proposed Greenslip amendments and the impacts that they will have to victims, the public, medical professionals, insurers and the legal profession.
The primary driver of the reforms was stated by the government to be the need to stop the increasing prices of CTP Greenslips. The rising costs were attributed to the lawyers and nowhere else.
In order to reduce the cost of Greenslips by an average of $1.50 per week the amendments going to drastically reduce the rehabilitation and compensation payable to the victims by cutting it all off at the 5 year mark.
What Wednesday’s roundtable did was air all the issues involved and the effects they will have if this proposal was implemented. I think the Government has come to the realization that there is far more resistance to the changes than had been admitted to previously.
The attendees included members of the insurance industry, the Motor Accidents Authority, the NRMA, Motorcycle Council of NSW, Victorian TAC, Bar Association, Lawyers Alliance, Medical groups, Bicycle NSW, Pedestrian Council of Australia, NSW Motorcycle Alliance and a host of others in the public gallery, with well over 1,000 people watching the webcast live to air as it unfolded.
This whole saga started off as a lawyer bashing exercise some weeks ago and in the end the Insurers were placed firmly in the hot seat on Wednesday. Some of the main issues raised were the impacts on victims if the 5 year cut off period is implemented, why are insurers profits, costs and Standard Operating Procedures not better scrutinized, alternatives and the fact that the proposed model has not been implemented anywhere else in the world despite what the Motor Accidents Authority have told us.
The assertion that claims cost have risen was negated by quoting the MAA’s own annual report from 2011/12 which quite categorically state that there has been minimal change over the past 5 years in claims payouts and the question was then posed, where is the rest of the cash going? The response from the insurers was weak and about the only thing they can come up with is low bond yields are affecting their bottom line. Any other business would shed staff or cut overheads but not the insurers, they want to increase charges and reduce payouts.
One thing made patently clear was there are no guarantees that prices will not rise in any case.
What next? A report will be compiled from the roundtable and a steering committee has been set up in order to look at the system and what changes to the current legislation is required.’
A lot of the proposed changes are already available under the current system and it needs to be streamlined and the MAA needs to exercise its current powers to the full.
The insurers need to undergo far greater scrutiny on their claimed costs including advertising costs, their overheads, the Key Performance Indicators used for their Case Officers, and how they do business in general, as they soak up by far the greatest proportion of funds from the Greenslip premiums.
The motorcycle lobby showed the attendees that we were indeed incredibly well informed on the issues from all sides and the points originally put forward to the Government were ratified by the other interest groups present at the roundtable. We will not be underrated nor taken lightly in the future.
All in all this is a win and shows that if we roll our sleeves up and put in some work we can indeed change the system, but the work does not stop here, and there is far more to do in the next couple of months in order to try and get this right.
Christopher “CJ” Burns
Motorcycle Council of NSW
Most riders will be aware of the Government’s plan to introduce the Motor Accidents Amendment Bill 2013, or the CTP / Greenslip reforms, which they tried to slip through Parliament in the dark of night … and most riders will be aware of the small win we have had through direct action by many riders in contacting the appropriate members of parliament and the work carried out by the MCC of NSW on behalf of riders.
For those who are not aware of the issues hidden within the legislation should have a look below and here injuredpersons.org.au/a-laymans-guide-to-the-motor-accident-injuries-amendment-bill-2013
The proposed legislation was pushed through parliament with no announcement, no notice to key stakeholders and no opportunity for any detailed review of the impacts from the legislation. The MCC were made aware by Matt Berringer of our legal advisors LHD Lawyers, of the legislative Bill reaching its second Reading in the upper house. A strategy meeting was convened for the night of Monday the 27th May.
The Bill presented to Parliament has some alarming omissions and provisions that were not disclosed during public consultation.
This issue was deemed so important that MCC of NSW decided to recruit other interested parties and combine forces and knowledge. Other rider advocacy groups were invited to the legal analysis and strategy meeting in order to give all riders in NSW the best opportunity of success.
Guy Stanford (Australian Motorcycle Council) had already booked Parliamentary meetings for the following Thursday to discuss motorcycle policy so we piggybacked Dave Cooke of the Motorcycle Alliance onto these and met with Ryan Park (Opposition Roads Minister) and the Shooters and Fishers party in an attempt to stall the legislation and get some breathing space to review it. It was a tough day, as Parliament had not risen until 4am the previous night and Guy and Dave were visiting Parliamentary offices with bowls of breakfast cereal still on the desks at 11am. Time was at a premium. We were unable to get a face to face meeting with the Christian Democrats, who along with the Shooters and Fishers control the balance of power in the NSW Upper House.
Fortunately the Shooters & Fishers agreed to stall the Bill until the next sitting day of 18th June, giving us a respite of a couple of weeks. They did, giving 10 days breathing space to raise a protest movement.
Every interested rider chipped in. A Facebook page was created by concerned riders and quickly grew to have over 11,000 members in a matter of 9 days, all of whom were itching to do something. A mass letter writing and phone call campaign ensued which broke quite a few email inboxes. Press releases were thrown out the window like confetti and the likes of Jonesy and Amanda from WSFM came on board and lent support. The MAA went into damage control. Many different channels of objection were opened and there’s just too many individual names to thank, but to you all, THANK YOU, YOU DID IT !
The end result of all this was? The Finance Minister Greg Pearce went on stress leave and we received a call to meet with the fill in Minister Andrew Constance to discuss our concerns. The next morning (19th June) Minister Constance had a press release put out that stated;
… “Yesterday, having met with the leadership of the motorcycle community, it was clear that they wanted more time to assess the bill and what it means for NSW motorcyclists. They indicated that other community groups were also keen for more time to assess the bill.”
This has given us time to assess what is on offer and what our options are. Opinions differ but there is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that the proposed legislation is not all it is cracked up to be and is nowhere near being the silver bullet that the MAA have promised it to be.
This fight is far from over and there is much work to be done in getting a CTP scheme that works for all in a fair and affordable manner.
Guy Stanford met with Ryan Park (Shadow Roads Minister) again on Thursday the 27th June while Christopher Burns met with Robert Brown and Robert Borsak from Shooters & Fishers Party as a follow up on the CTP discussions.
We would also like to thank Alan Hay the patron of the Australian Confederation of Motor enthusiasts Clubs (ACMC) and the Nationals candidate for the federal senate for his invaluable advice and strategy input into this issue
This would not have happened were it not for all the noise created by riders in NSW to their local members and to the cross bench MP’s so this is a win for all riders and shows that we can change the world if we have a go.
The MCC of NSW will continue to fight this on behalf of all riders. Stay tuned for details.
In response to the MCC and Motorcycle Allinaces meetings with the Shooters and Fisher Party and spreading the word about the issues associated with the Governments CTP changes the MAA has requested that the letter at the bottom of the page be published
The Liberal Government is slipping new CTP legislation through Parliament with indecent haste.
They claim they have consulted with the Motorcycle fraternity by giving us a lecture on the new Legislation in Minister Pearce’s office about 3 weeks ago and the Legislation was not made available to us.
In direct response to our query about time frames they advised that the Legislation would go into Parliament in about 4 months yet they slipped it in through the night last week without anyone having a proper chance to read, review and comment on the legislation.
The MCCofNSW were not given a heads up that the Legislation was ready for submission to Parliament either.
We managed to get it held up the other night by the Fishers and Shooters but only until 18 June.
There are some good things in it;
· Progress payments to the injured from date of injury.
· At Fault claimants are allowed to claim where it used to be only no fault third party claimants. So if you have a single vehicle accident you can claim.
· The Government reckons Greenslips will reduce by 15%, but they have already gone up 10% so 5% saving only.
Bad points are;
· No legal representation as they are cutting the lawyers out of the system so you need to rely upon the benevolence of the insurers and the appeal process is not clear at all.
· Allowing “At Fault” claims will increase the claim numbers by something like 80%. The Government reckons the price will go down but it doesn’t make sense if you are allowing another 80% or 7,000 claimants.
· Benefits will be reduced to make savings to pay at fault drivers.
· You can only claim 80% of your lost earnings instead of 100%.
· You won’t be able to claim for carers so if you break both wrists and your partner takes time off work to wipe your bum you can’t claim their lost wages anymore.
· Claims will be limited to something like a table of maims eg: lose one eye $20,000 lose 2 eyes $40,000 that sort of thing.
· Kids under 16 may not be covered after 5 years and probably won’t be covered for lost earnings after 5 years if they are at less than 10% impairment
None of the changes have been raised nor explored and no figures, dollars etc have been made available as yet, so no judgement can be made on this, yet the Government insists on shoving this through Parliament to get it enacted. I have a sneaking suspicion there is something more to this than meets the eye and they do not want it examined.
Meanwhile the NRMA are completely silent on this because they have a caveat on them from the sale of the NRMA insurance arm that they will not comment on insurance matters in NSW.
Whatever happens there are serious doubts that anyone will truly benefit from this change until they prove it different.
Email Minister Pearce and ask him why this is being shoved through without following due process
Write to the MAA and ask them why there are no figures available so we can make a valid judgement on the proposal and why they are not following due process for consultation as outlined in COAG.
And to the Christian Democrats Fred Nile
And the Shadow Roads Minister Ryan Park
And the opposition Minister John Robertson