Brought to you by:

Psychological claims in focus as icare names six service providers

NSW workers’ compensation insurer icare has elevated its focus on psychological injuries under a reset involving the appointment of an expanded panel of six claims and injury management service providers.

icare has selected Allianz, DXC, Employers Mutual Ltd (EML) and Gallagher Bassett (GB) as “general providers with specialist capabilities”, which means they can manage all claim types and will have a dedicated psychological claims case manager.

Providers GIO and QBE have been appointed “generalist providers” that can manage all claim types.

icare is seeing a significant rise in psychological claims, which take longer to recover from, and says in addition to the panel changes it will bolster its approach with an internal team dedicated to improving outcomes. Additional appointments may be made to the panel in the future.

“Research shows one in five Australians experience mental ill-health in any given year,” CEO Richard Harding said.

“Considering mental health issues are now the most common diagnosed long-term health condition in Australia, and are a growing proportion of workplace injuries, it's essential we respond with specialist care to ensure these workers get back to health and work as quickly as possible.”

Contracts under the revised arrangements will start on January 1, with allocation of claims to new providers expected to begin in the second quarter in a phased approach. The panel, announced after a tender process, includes a mix of current and additional providers, with DXC and GB the new appointees.

GB says its selection under the new NSW model builds on its workers’ compensation footprint in Victorian, SA and NT as well as its national presence in self-insurance.

“The new model will simplify processes to reduce administrative burden and better support superior outcomes for injured workers and employers while building capability in the scheme,” Australia CEO Pete Nicholson said.

Allianz said its appointment continues its longstanding support to private sector employers and injured workers of NSW.

“We have extensive workers’ compensation capability and expertise, psychological claims management experience, scheme knowledge, and ongoing focus on learning and innovating as a claims service provider,” Chief GM Personal Injury Julie Mitchell said.

Allianz also welcomed icare’s new Professional Standards Framework, which will provide learning and career pathways for case managers, and continued enhancement of claims management teams’ capability, expertise and capacity.

QBE says following its appointment that it will provide claims management and treatment support services to a portfolio of small and medium employers in NSW in addition to large corporate employers who have moved to the group since 2020.

“We want to support businesses by providing tailored insurance, proactive advice on managing and reducing their specific risks, and now providing claims and treatment support to small business employers and employees in NSW should an incident arise,” QBE Australia Pacific MD Business Elliot Hill said.

“We’re pleased to have expanded our relationship with icare so we can be there for SMEs before and after the unexpected.”

Only larger employers with an average performance premium of more than $500,000 are able to choose their claims provider currently, but icare says the intention is to reduce that threshold over time to enable choice for a greater number of employers.

“The timing of reducing the threshold will be assessed once new claims service providers are onboarded in 2023,” it says.