Scone Chamber has applauded a NSW Government directive to icare, the state insurer which services 330,000 NSW employers, to cap its insurance premium increase at 8% per year over three years instead of the 22% rise it had planned.
icare said the rise was needed so it could remain financially viable, the Courier-Mail has reported.
A directive from work, health and safety Minister Sophie Cotsis to the icare board said she was “deeply disappointed” the insurer “has been so seriously run down” that it would require “significant premium increases”.
“Small increases put off over the past seven years have burdened the public with the requirement for a large increase now,” she wrote.
She added a “sticker shock” increase of an immediate 22% increase in premiums was “not in the public interest” before directing rises to be limited to an average increase of 8% per annum over the next three years.
“By moderating the increase, I am balancing this with the real pressures faced by NSW businesses,” she said.
Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter said “anything near 22% would be catastrophic for businesses in NSW”.
“It’s the government’s role to step in and not allow icare to set their own prices and make it more fair for businesses,” he said.
“icare needs to focus on running a more efficient workers’ compensation scheme, which should be based around improving return-to-work rates for injured workers and looking after them and their families.”
A spokesman for icare said the body “acknowledges moderating an increase in premiums balances the cost impacts on NSW businesses with the long-term sustainability of the insurance scheme and the needs of injured workers”.
“We are working with the government now to implement their direction,” he said.