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icare to pay out $38 million after benefit errors

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NSW state insurer icare will pay $38 million in total to 53,000 injured workers who were underpaid benefits and has apologised for the calculation errors that have led to the remediation.

The payments, endorsed by a steering committee comprising icare, NSW Treasury and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), will be pro-actively made as a result of reviews into historic pre-injury average weekly earnings calculations.

“I would like to offer my sincere apology to any injured worker who has been affected by this calculation error,” icare CEO Richard Harding said. “icare is working closely with the NSW government, SIRA and employers to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Since last year icare has written to 280,000 injured workers, conducted a state-wide awareness campaign and reviewed over 16,000 of the potentially highest impacted files to address possible miscalculation errors between 2012 and 2019.

To date 3.5% of files reviewed have been identified as having received underpayments, with an average impact of less than $26 per week. Some 2.3% of files received overpayments of similar value, which will not be recouped.

The announced payments focus on accelerating remediation and assisting the most vulnerable, where the financial impact is greatest.

“I am pleased that we are now in a position to make this right and get these payments to the injured workers who need them,” Mr Harding said.

icare will contact workers identified as suitable to receive the proactive payments, so they can be processed, and says the accelerated approach doesn’t limit injured workers from requesting a further review, either through an online form or by contacting their case manager.

The insurer earlier this year published a Deloitte report that was commissioned to review the proposed remediation program.