The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), the workers’ compensation watchdog in New South Wales (NSW), has implemented Standard 34, a new standard of practice for the early management of claims and return to work.
The new standard of practice applies SIRA’s expectations regarding return to work and provides an insurer checklist to identify the risks factors for delayed recovery.
SIRA chief executive Adam Dent said Standard 34’s implementation aligns with the workers’ compensation watchdog’s aim to drive a turnaround in system-wide, return-to-work performance.
“Working in consultation with insurers, we have created a standard that will help facilitate early recovery and improved return to work outcomes for people in NSW who are injured at work,” Dent said. “It is my expectation that all insurers in the NSW workers’ compensation system follow this standard to achieve best practice claims administration practices.”
In December 2021, SIRA announced a return-to-work action plan committed to undertaking 10 actions to reverse the trend of poor return-to-work performance. One of these actions is introducing a return-to-work and early intervention standard of practice.
The draft standard was subject to public consultation from December 2021, with stakeholders invited to provide feedback by the end of February 2022. The consultation with insurers through the first quarter of 2022 extended to an education session on the supporting research and practical tips for implementation, with over 240 insurer representatives in attendance.
Standard 34 applied to all NSW workers’ compensation claims from April 04, 2022.