Monday, March 09, 2009

ACC - monopoly without accountability?

What happens if you get poor service from ACC? Well if you are a claimant you can appeal to District Court, but if you pay levies, you have no recourse. In reality, you wont go to Court if you feel treated shoddily, or that your compensation is inadequate. Yes you can sue for exemplary damages, but that's rare.

That is the funny world of the state monopoly accident insurance system. You, as a private citizen, have no responsibility to insure yourself for hurting yourself or others. The state does it for you, after thieving your money. Employers pay through their own levies, which is a tax on your income. It reflects risks in different industries. However, for non-work injuries it is socialism in action - the levies reflect average risk.

I've blogged before about the deception of ACC, whether ACC affects the care taken by others to avoid injury or causing injury, and the benefits of opening it up to competition.

The left bases its support for ACC on a mix of ideology and a debatable report undertaken by accountancy firm PWC commissioned by ACC itself which said why ACC should remain a monopoly. I'll let you judge whether a consultant asked by a client with a vested interest in a particular outcome would dare challenge that or just present the case for that outcome.

I simply say that having a government statutory monopoly providing an insurance service cannot ensure equitable treatment of all those paying or claiming. Without competition, those paying cannot choose to pay for the best service and the most appropriate levels of insurance (and added value services), nor can there can be efficiencies in managing customers or much accountability for delivering the services customers want.

ACC is a pay as you go system, which is an unaffordable absurdity. It needs to face the pressures of competition, in the employer accounts as already reported, but also motor vehicle accounts and for coverage of non-employment based accidents.

The government should commission a serious review of the entire ACC system with a view as to how to restructure it to allow competition for ALL ACC accounts, which means maintaining the compulsory nature of personal accident insurance.

You see, unless the right to sue is returned, personal accident insurance has to remain compulsory, otherwise you can be injured by the negligence of another and have no recourse (or your insurer has no recourse). I believe there is a case to consider whether to permit the right to sue to return, but for now competition in ACC would go a long way towards holding that sector accountable - because for now you get a state owned monopoly, with a board appointed by a politician.

After all, who in their right mind would believe unionist Ross Wilson could run an orgy in a brothel, let alone the national injury insurance monopoly?

1 comment:

Mr Dennis said...

A baby-step in the right direction would be to at least give ACC the right to sue for injury costs in certain circumstances.

You could say for example that ACC (or any insurer if there was competition) could sue for the cost of treatment of alcohol-related injuries (which are clearly caused by negligence on the part of whoever chose to get drunk, not unforseen accidents). Then if you turned up at the hospital on Saturday night completely drunk with a broken arm, you'd get treated, then get a bill in the mail. That might encourage some people to be more careful with their drinking, saving A&E departments a lot of workload and expense.