ACC spends $15 million on tourists in five years

Expert believes the cost is likely much higher

ACC spends $15 million on tourists in five years

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has spent around $15 million on sick and injured tourists over the past five years – with an expert saying that the cost is likely much higher.

ACC, which spends approximately $4.3 billion annually to support people with injuries, paid out $14,975,684 for tourist claims from 2015 to 2019. It also accepted two million injury claims in the last financial year.

“We cover the costs of treatment and rehabilitation in New Zealand for overseas visitors who injure themselves here. If this was not the case, or if tourists currently need treatment for something that isn’t covered by ACC, they need to self-fund or fund through travel insurance,” an ACC spokesperson told NZ Herald.

Specialist ACC lawyer Warren Forster said the figure quoted is likely much higher as this amount didn’t count people with serious injuries who went straight to the hospital.

Tourists who were affected by the White Island eruption, for example, will have their treatment covered in New Zealand, but they will need their country’s own healthcare system once they go back home or they will have to cover these costs themselves.

“If each of the more than three million tourists bought 100 litres of fuel, then with the 6c per litre fuel levy they are collectively paying at least $18 million into the ACC scheme each year,” Forster explained.

He added that ACC is “broken” and needs a total overhaul but insisted that requiring tourists to either have insurance or sue for personal injury is not the best choice.

“That issue to sue is a non-starter. Removing the no-fault scheme is not an effective way to solve those problems,” Forster concluded.

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