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Everything you need to know about the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

Statistics (2018)

  • 1.98 million registered claims
  • 25 branches across New Zealand
  • $40 billion investment portfolio
  • 3,523 temporary and permanent staff

About ACC

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is a New Zealand insurer that provides injury cover to all residents and visitors, and provides health and rehabilitation services to anyone who is injured as a result of an accident.

Everyone in the country is covered by ACC’s no-fault scheme including children, beneficiaries and students, regardless of whether they are working, unemployed or retired. The cover helps pay for the costs of hospital treatment, help at home and at work, and the costs of any potential income loss.

ACC is funded primarily by income from its investments. It also receives funding from the government, and from levies collected from everyone who works and owns a business in New Zealand.

“Our vision is to create a unique partnership with every New Zealander, improving their quality of life by minimising the incidence and impact of injury,” ACC states. “We touch the lives of a large number of New Zealanders. Our role is to make sure that all these groups’ needs are met, and making sure our clients get the right care at the right time, while keeping levies fair and stable.”

History

New Zealand’s first ‘no fault’ system was established in 1900 in the form of The Worker’s Compensation Act. The Act required employers to insure all of their employees for injury, give weekly compensation payments to injured workers, and compensate the families of workers who died as a result of an injury.

In 1973, the Labour government passed an amendment providing cover for students, people who weren’t in employment and visitors to New Zealand, thus significantly expanding the reach of the scheme.

ACC as it exists today was born in April 1974, when the government established the Accident Compensation Corporation to manage the various compensation programmes.

Almost 15 years later the scheme underwent a significant review with The Law Commission recommending a number of changes in 1988, and, in 1991, ACC Minister Bill Birch announced several changes which came into effect with the Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance Act. These included covering employees’ non-work injuries, introducing discounts for employers based on claims history, and separating the scheme into different accounts.

The Accident Compensation Act of 2001 made even more changes to ACC legislation, and put greater focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation as a main function of ACC. The 2001 Act sets out how ACC runs today.

ACC’s investments

The biggest chunk of ACC’s funding comes from its extensive investment portfolio, 77% of which is invested in New Zealand. The portfolio favours long-term investments which deliver reasonably stable streams of income, and has grown from $8 billion 10 years ago to approximately $40 billion in June 2018.

ACC regularly reviews its asset allocations to ensure they provide the best balance of risk and expected returns, and actively manages its portfolio to gain better risk-adjusted returns.

“We take a number of other factors into consideration when deciding what to invest in, including, but not limited to, an ethical investment policy,” ACC states. “This policy requires us to consider the ethical implications of our investments alongside operational risk.”

“We have outperformed market benchmarks for 25 of the past 26 years. To the best of our knowledge, no other investment fund anywhere in the world has ever outperformed market-based benchmarks on such a consistent basis.”

A year in the life of ACC: facts and figures

In the 12 months to June 2018, ACC registered approximately 1.89 million new claims. Of those, 208,069 were due to workplace accidents.

50% of claims in 2018 were for people not in the workforce, with a 47% - 53% female to male ratio.

In a typical day, ACC receives approximately 5,699 new claims, treats 1,035 people in an emergency department following an accident, and provides 100 people with ACC-funded elective surgical procedures. It provides 14,112 hours of care to New Zealanders, 6,705 of whom suffer serious injuries.

“We work closely with health providers to ensure that those who are injured receive the right treatment,” ACC stated in its 2018 annual report. “We are proud to be part of the fabric of this country, and we’re proud to partner with you to help improve quality of life for everyone in New Zealand.