Victoria's workers' compensation system is failing vulnerable and injured people and needs to be fixed, a Victorian Ombudsman's investigation has found.
Ombudsman Deborah Glass said complex cases, which make up 20 per cent of all WorkCover insurance cases, were being mishandled, deliberately delayed, or cancelled with minimal medical reasoning.
The report was also critical of the way WorkSafe, Victoria’s workplace health and safety and compensation agency, used financial incentives that rewarded agents for terminating compensation, saying it distorted the system.
The investigation, sparked by 500 complaints about WorkSafe and its agents in 2014–2015, looked into the management of 65 complex compensation claims by WorkSafe's agents, including major insurance firms Gallagher Bassett Services, QBE and Allianz.
It found that agents had been using a number of strategies to frustrate and deny workers’ claims:
Unfortunately these strategies are not confined to WorkSafe’s agents. Insurers and self-insurers (such as Telstra and Australian Post) will always be tempted to resort to such approaches in order to reduce the cost of claims.
CWU members seeking to have recognition of and compensation for a workplace injury should always contact the union before proceeding with a claim so as to protect themselves against these abuses of the compensation system.