WRI News

3rd December 2014

Work Christmas Parties

With the festive season well upon us, many workplaces are preparing to celebrate end of year, with a work Christmas party. Whilst work Christmas parties can be great for team bonding and socialising, employers should be mindful that they are still responsible, and in some cases liable, for the actions of and/or injuries sustained by their employees regardless of venue and or timing of the event. (View the legal outcome of one famous Workers Compensation case which saw a lengthy court battle).

Employers have a duty of care to their employees and as such should take reasonable steps to identify and reduce potential risks before the event. Some recommendations include;

  • Where possible conducting a risk assessment of the venue before the party can assist to identify and potential trip, slip and fall hazards.
  • Communicate expected standards of behaviour by reminding staff of your company's policies in relation to codes of conduct. This should include WHS, Bullying, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. Managers should brief their staff and lead by example. Ensure that employees are made aware that the Christmas party is a work event and that responsible and respectful behaviour is required by all attendees. Ensure all staff are aware of the relevant workplace policies and that they also apply at work events. Ensure policies are kept up-to-date and easily accessible by staff. Provide training, where required, to enable employees to adhere to the policies and code of conduct. Remind employees that their failure to observe the policies during the event may result in disciplinary action, which could potentially lead to termination.
  • Ensure responsible service of alcohol. Provide plenty of food, water and non-alcoholic alternatives. Ensure under-age employees do not have access to alcohol. Be aware of staff that may be drinking too much and intervene where necessary.
  • Set clear parameters. Communicate the start and finish times of the party. Clearly announce when the function has concluded and advise staff that the remainder of the night is their own personal time.
  • If possible, provide transport to and from the event. Alternatively organise travel or provide suggestions for employees on how to travel home safely (taxi’s, public transport etc)
  • Identify and designate a responsible contact person/s at the event to oversee the party, keep an eye on employee behaviour and provide assistance if employees have any concerns.
  • Read about a famous Workers Compensation case here

From all of us at WRI Insurance Brokers, we wish you and your staff a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.


19th December 2013

Charity Pro Am Golf Day

At WRI we love our golf, but when all proceeds go to our favourite charity - Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, we love it even more.

Our Golf Day has raised in excess of $250,000 over the years and WRI Insurance Brokers could not be more proud.


15th November 2013

Workers Compensation Insurance – Premium Reductions effective from 31st December 2013

WorkCover NSW has again reduced the average premium for 376 industries –approximately 72% of the WorkCover Scheme effective from the 31st December 2013.

This reduction comes after certain industries have continued to demonstrate improved safety and return to work performances. This has seen the WorkCover NSW scheme return a surplus of $309 million, meaning that the scheme has made a profit for the first time since 2008.


2nd May 2013

Workers Compensation Insurance - Small Employer Reforms

Some of the key changes effecting Small Employers (those who have a Basic Tariff Premium < $30,000) are as follows:

  • Pre set premiums for small employers (estimated wages declaration forms will no longer be required.). These will be sent 4-6 weeks prior to the renewal date (starting approximately 20th May 2013). For the 2013/14 year it will be based on most recent estimates, however moving forward it will be based on actual wages. If there is a 25% difference expected in estimated wages for the upcoming year, the employer can lodge the new estimates to us prior to renewal and we will adjust.
  • A small employer will now be anyone who has a basic tariff premium (BTP) less than $30,000; Claims will not impact the premium.
  • Employers will be given a 10% discount 'Employer safety Incentive' (ESI) on renewal, during the course of the policy year any worker who is injured has 4 weeks to return to work for the employer will keep the 10% discount at the end of the period.
  • If the employer returns the injured worker to pre-injury duties between 4-13 weeks they will still be entitled to a 10% discount however it will be called the 'return to work incentive' (RTWI). If they are not back within the 13 weeks the 10% discount is forfeited at the end of the policy period when actual wages are calculated. Note: there is no financial difference between the ESI and RTWI
  • Employers will also now receive a 5% discount for full payment within a month of renewal (previously 3%)
  • All small employers renewal dates will be short termed to align with month end, e.g. Renewal date of 15th August will be changed to 30th July (a policy still cannot exceed 1 year total)
  • Actual wages can be submitted up to 4 months after renewal date
  • If the actual wages are not submitted 6 months after renewal the policy will be 'nil adjusted' based on the estimated wages, If client is not entitled to ESI or RTWI it will be deducted and an invoice will be generated for the difference.

For further information,


5th February 2013

Case Study

On the 28th February 2012, a fire broke out at our Insured’s commercial premises in Northmead, Sydney. The following Case Study Video provides an insight into how we, as Brokers, handled the claim, as well as all other parties involved.


5th September 2012

NSW Legislative Reforms - Implementation

The NSW Workers Compensation Reforms that were legislated in June 2012 have been and will be introduced in several stages.

The changes to the scheme will benefit employees with serious injuries, and assist others in returning to work earlier.

Below is a summary of the key dates and changes:

19 June 2012 The changes took effect for some claims, including new arrangements for journey claims, lump sum payments, heart attack and stroke and nervous shock
17 September 2012 Seriously injured workers (with greater than 30 per cent whole person impairment) will receive their revised benefits, irrespective of when they were injured. No worker in this cohort will be "worse off" under the new regime
1 October 2012 Workers injured at work on or after this date will receive benefits under the new regime and be subject to the provisions of the new legislation
1 January 2013 All other injured workers will be transitioned to the new legislative requirements


Further updates in relation to this rollout, will be released in September 2012.


9th July 2012

Journey Claims

A journey claim is an injury sustained while a worker is travelling between home and work, but not resuming work.

The new laws introduced on the 30th June 2012, means that coverage will only be available where there is a substantial connection between work and the incident out of which the injury arose.

Example

  • Motor Vehicle Mechanic / Technician stops to pick up some parts from a supplier on his way to work gets injured, he or she would be covered by Workers Compensation Insurance
  • An employee slips on a footpath whilst travelling home from work, would NOT be covered by Workers Compensation Insurance.

Such a situation could result in expensive compensation payments as well as a loss in production should that person be away from work.

Chubb Insurance Australia has a specifically designed product to help organisations reduce financial losses resulting from employee down time and because Chubb's policy can cover all employees our premiums are much lower than you would pay for individual policies.

Speak to WRI Insurance Brokers about the features of Chubb's Group Journey Injury Insurance Policy - its coverage, policy benefits and entitlements.


2nd July 2012

Insurance Premium Order (IPO) 2012-2013

The IPO sets out the premium rates, industry claims cost rates, formulas, etc to calculate the premiums employers in NSW have to pay for their Workers Compensation Insurance.

There was an expectation that premiums would increase given the state of the NSW WorkCover Scheme. Some rates have increased, but on average, most have remained static.


29th June 2012

NSW Workers Compensation Scheme

The key recommendations were passed by the NSW Government on the 22nd June 2012. The new laws affect all NEW and EXISTING workers compensation claims.


21st June 2012

Insurance Premium Order 2012-2013

Each year the New South Wales Government approves the WorkCover Industry Classifications (WIC) / Rates that the WorkCover NSW Scheme will charge employers for workers compensation cover.

Given the state of the WorkCover NSW Scheme, it is anticipated that the WIC / Rates will be increasing for most industries.

The Insurance Premiums Order includes important information on the WorkCover Industry Classification System, premium rates, dust diseases rates and the manner in which an employer's workers compensation premium should be calculated by Scheme Agents for the relevant policy period.

The WIC / Rates will be release some time prior to the 30th June 2012.

Watch this space for further details.


21st June 2012

NSW Workers Compensation Scheme

The Joint Select Committee has submitted a number of recommendations in an effort to address WorkCover NSW's poor financial performance.

Given that the recommendations are complex, it has been proposed that an independent body be formed to undertake an initial review and to continue to review and oversight the WorkCover NSW Scheme.


25th May 2012

NSW Workers Compensation Scheme – Issues Paper

The NSW Workers Compensation Scheme has experience many reforms over the last few decades. Recently the NSW Government released an 'Issues Paper' outlining a number of options for a further reform. The Issues Paper was in turn, referred to a Joint Select Committee who are currently discussing the issues and are due to report back on findings on the 13th June 2012.

Watch this space for further details.


25th May 2012

WorkCover NSW Accredited – Introduction to Return to Work Coordinator Course
– 17th and 18th July 2012

Following the success of our first RTW Coordinator training, please find attached information on our next training session to be held on the 17th and 18th July 2012.

We have limited availability, so if you (or your staff) wish to attend, please complete the registration form at your earliest convenience.

WRI are proactive in assisting our clients to meet their legal obligations. Under the Workers Compensation Act, an employer who has a workers compensation basic tariff premium of more than $50,000 is required by law, to have an accredited Return to Work Coordinator.

This course provides a Return to Work Coordinator the basic skills and knowledge, as required by WorkCover NSW, to effectively manage workplace injuries and see that an injured employee is rehabilitated and returned to work as soon as is safely possible in accordance with worker's compensation and injury management law.


25th May 2012

WorkCover NSW Accredited – Introduction to Return to Work Coordinator Course
– 8th and 9th May 2012

We would like to thank all participants and hope your time spent with us was as enjoyable as we had having you here.

You should be receiving your Accreditation Certificates soon.


15th February 2012

WHS Briefing

From the 1st January 2012, the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Act was replaced by the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act. The change means that WHS laws are now harmonised in Australia.

WRI Insurance Brokers, together with Allianz Australia, provided our clients with a briefing on the significant changes effecting all employers. We will endeavour to continue to brief our clients on significant changes to both WHS and Workers Compensation Insurance.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank Advance OHS for their participation on the day.


20th October 2011

Charity Golf Day

Each year, WRI Insurance Brokers organises a Charity Pro-Am Golf Day held at Ryde-Parramatta Golf Club. The event makes a contribution to a selected charity, which last year was RASAID – Ryde Area Supported Accommodation for Intellectually Disabled. We were also voted as a finalist in the Metropolitan Pro-Am of 2011.

We would like to thank all our supporters and look forward to seeing you all again this year.