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 WorkCover lump-sum payout plea

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Number of posts : 10
Registration date : 2007-06-04

PostSubject: WorkCover lump-sum payout plea   Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:34 pm


May 25, 2007 02:15am

Article from: The Advertiser

WORKCOVER is being urged to offer more and higher lump-sum payouts to injured workers to cut ballooning claims liability.

An injured worker said he and hundreds of others have been
"trapped" on weekly benefits for more than three years because of a
"poor policy decision to stop paying reasonable redemptions".

WorkCover figures show the number of injured workers receiving
compensation for more than three years has risen from 1126 in 1999 to
2765 in 2006.

The number of payouts removing injured workers from the scheme
climbed back to 1435 last year from 496 in 2004, coinciding with
WorkCover's decision to make Employers Mutual as its sole claims agent.

WorkCover in March revealed its unfunded liability had increased to
$722.7 million, from $694 million in mid-2006, and warned the figure
could hit $1 billion by next month. Injured workers, receiving weekly
payments for more than three years, represent 28 per cent of all claims
but account for 45 per cent of liability.

A claimant said many would readily take "fair and reasonable" lump-sum payouts but they were not on offer.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Mitch Williams said
"reasonable" payouts were the only way WorkCover could get long-term
injured workers off its books.

Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright has appointed
independent experts Alan Clayton and John Walsh to conduct a second
inquiry and report back by November 30.

A WorkCover spokeswoman said: "We are firmly of the view that
WorkCover's financial position will only improve if the scheme achieves
better return-to-work rates . . . without the use of redemption where
capacity for work exists."

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