Annual Report 2010-11

2010-11 Motor Accident Insurance Commission Annual Report

The Motor Accident Insurance Commission reports to the State Parliament through the Treasurer and prepares an annual report, as required by the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 and the Financial Accountability Act 2009.

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The compliance checklist outlines the governance, performance, reporting and other specific requirements for agency annual reports.

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If you have any enquiries regarding the annual report, please email maic@maic.qld.gov.au.

Disclaimer

The electronic versions of the Motor Accident Insurance Commission Annual Report 2010-11 provided on this site are for information purposes only and are not recognised as the official or authorised version. The official copy of the Annual Report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, can be accessed from the Queensland Parliament tabled papers website.

 

Annual Report 2010 - 2011

( pdf 6.95 Mb )

About our report

The Motor Accident Insurance Commission’s (the Commission) annual report describes our progress during 2010-11 towards achieving the objectives published in our strategic plan.

It delivers detailed information on our financial and non-financial performance during the 2010-11 financial year, and provides a better understanding of who we are, our people and our business.

This year’s report also includes information on how the Commission is contributing to preventing road crashes through its support of a number of initiatives. This is featured in ‘Prevention is better than the cure’.

Our annual scheme statistical report is a separate volume which follows the written section of this report. The statistical report covers all aspects of the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme including:

  • Premium prices benchmarked against the affordability index
  • Claim frequency and claim propensity
  • Accident data broken down by region, age and gender
  • Claim severity and injury type
  • Claims broken down by accident year and duration
  • Rates of legal representation and litigation
  • Heads of damage
  • Market share.

The financial information contains the audited financial statements of both the Motor Accident Insurance Fund and the Nominal Defendant Fund.

Further information on the CTP scheme and the Commission’s operations can be found at https://maic.qld.gov.au/.

Translating and interpreting assistance

The Queensland Government is committed to providing accessible services to Queenslanders from all culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. If you have difficulty in understanding the annual report, you can contact us at the CTP helpline 1300 302 568 and we will arrange an interpreter to effectively communicate the report to you.

Letter to the Minister

The Honourable Rachel Nolan MP
Minister for Finance, Natural Resources and The Arts
Parliament House
Cnr George and Alice Streets
BRISBANE QLD 4000

Dear Minister

I am pleased to present the Annual Report 2010-11 for the Motor Accident Insurance Commission. The report details the operations of Queensland’s compulsory third party insurance scheme and the financial statements of the Commission and the Nominal Defendant from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011.

I certify this Annual Report complies with:

  • the prescribed requirements of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009, and
  • the detailed requirements outlined in the Annual Reporting Requirements for Queensland Government Agencies.

A checklist outlining the annual report requirements can be accessed at http://www.premiers.qld.gov.au/publications/categories/guides/annual-report-guidelines.aspx.

Yours sincerely

Neil Singleton
Insurance Commissioner

About us

The Motor Accident Insurance Commission is responsible for regulating Queensland’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme and managing the Nominal Defendant Fund.

Based in Brisbane and established under the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAIA), the Commission commenced operations on 1 September 1994 as a statutory body reporting to the Treasurer.

Since 1936, Queensland has operated a CTP motor vehicle insurance scheme. The scheme provides motor vehicle owners with an insurance policy that covers their unlimited liability for personal injury caused by, through or in connection with the use of the insured motor vehicle in incidents to which the MAIA applies.

For those injured in motor vehicle accidents, the scheme provides modified access to the common law where the injured party can establish negligence against an owner or driver. As the scheme is fault-based, circumstances can arise where a driver who is solely at fault in an accident cannot obtain compensation because there is no negligent party against whom he or she can bring an action.

Six private licensed insurers currently underwrite the Queensland CTP scheme. The licensed insurers accept applications for insurance and manage claims on behalf of their insured policy holders.

The scheme is designed to allow insurers to set their premiums for each class of motor vehicle within floor and ceiling premium bands set by the Commission. An efficient system of premium collection, through the motor vehicle registry of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), minimises administration costs within the scheme and provides motorists with a relatively convenient transaction.

The Nominal Defendant acts as an insurer where damages are claimed for personal injury arising from the liability of uninsured motor vehicles and unidentified motor vehicles. In the event of insolvency of an underwriting CTP insurer, the Nominal Defendant has a legislated role to meet the cost of CTP claims against that insurer.

CTP premiums in Queensland remain relative to other states and can be considered good value-for-money as they provide injured people with access to common law benefits. While there are limits on certain heads of damage, there are no threshold entry levels.

Although the scheme structures differ, all CTP authorities in Australia participate in regular forums to address common issues for all the state and territory schemes.

The Commission’s role includes advising the Queensland Government on the ongoing suitability of the scheme in providing a balance between the needs of the stakeholders.

The primary activities of the Commission include:

  • licensing Queensland CTP insurers
  • monitoring scheme trends and the performance of CTP insurers based on scheme data and independent actuarial analyses
  • setting premium bands and recommending levies
  • maintaining a helpline service for motor vehicle owners and injured people
  • managing claims against the Nominal Defendant and prudent investment of its claim reserves
  • investment in research and programs to minimise and mitigate the effects of motor vehicle accidents by providing funding for education and research in these areas.

Ensuring financial protection that makes Queensland stronger, fairer and safer through overseeing an affordable and efficient CTP scheme and through sound research funding, service delivery, policy development and strategic advice.

Achievement and excellence
Trust and integrity
Innovation and learning
Teamwork

The Commission contributes to the Queensland Government’s ambitions for 2020 in the following ways:

Fair: Supporting safe and caring communities

The Commission contributes to the Government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland ambition for a fair Queensland by maintaining a viable CTP scheme balanced with reasonable and appropriate compensation to the injured.

Smart: Delivering world-class education and training

The Commission contributes to the Government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland ambition for a smart Queensland by providing funds for research and education in the fields of injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Healthy: Making Queenslanders Australia’s healthiest people

The Commission contributes to the Government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland ambition for a healthy Queensland by investing in research and service delivery to reduce the incidence of loss and the impact of trauma from motor vehicle accidents.

Strong: Creating a diverse economy powered by bright ideas

The Commission contributes to the Government’s Towards Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland ambition for a strong Queensland by the prudential supervision of licensed CTP insurers and the function of the Nominal Defendant.

Green: Protecting our lifestyle and environment

The Commission contributes to the Government’s Towards Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland ambition for a green Queensland by looking for opportunities within the delivery of the CTP scheme to reduce the scheme’s carbon footprint.

  1. Provide a viable and equitable personal injury motor accident insurance scheme.
  2. Improve the performance of the Nominal Defendant operation.
  3. Provide a corporate governance model that facilitates the Commission’s vision and meets the State’s financial and performance requirements.
  • Claims trends and delivery costs impact significantly on CTP premium rates and as a result, the Commission will continue to keep Queensland’s CTP scheme under review.
  • Under the current CTP scheme framework, insurer insolvency represents a risk to the Queensland Government through legislative provisions relating to protection afforded injured parties through the Nominal Defendant.
  • The Commission will need to continually gauge whether the current vehicle class filing model is delivering price-based competition and more affordable premiums.
  • Potential future legislative reforms such as the national disability care and support scheme, which may require integration into the existing scheme.

Insurance Commissioner's Report

In December 2010 I was privileged to be appointed as Insurance Commissioner. I regard this as an honour and an important role in which to ensure the Queensland CTP scheme continues to improve in its well balanced delivery of affordable premiums to motorists and fair and timely compensation to people injured in road crashes. I greatly appreciate the contribution made by John Hand over many years at the Commission and through his leadership as Insurance Commissioner during the previous three years in bringing the Commission forward to where it is today.

My background is in the insurance industry, heavily involved in CTP insurance and closely associated with many stakeholders to the Queensland CTP scheme. I look forward to continuing to work with the many organisations and individuals who share a genuine interest and commitment to maintaining the balance, integrity and high regard held for the scheme.

The great work of the Commission staff in completing the scheme reforms, providing quality inputs to a range of policy topics and maintaining stability in the scheme throughout the past year deserves high praise.

The scheme highlight for the 2010-11 year was the October 2010 reforms that fundamentally changed CTP insurer intermediary distribution arrangements. When combined with the removal of the HIH levy, the reforms delivered real premium savings of $24 to Class 1 motorists. The reforms have also created an environment that better encourages insurers to more actively compete on price. While some evidence of price competition has emerged the broader objective is to ensure that Queensland motorists enjoy the full benefit of a truly competitive scheme.

Trends

Two words currently feature in discussions about the Queensland CTP scheme – stable and benign.

The number of new claims coming into the scheme and the amounts of compensation being paid to injured people are broadly in line with expectations. While it is tempting to regard this as a good outcome, the underlying fact is that too many people are still being injured or killed in road crashes which not only has financial implications for the CTP scheme, but more importantly has a heavy toll on the injured person, their family, their friends and the community.

The Commission will continue to support research and investment that assists in reducing the incidence and effects of road trauma and will continue to work closely with key stakeholders in the scheme to deliver these improved outcomes.

United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011- 2020

The Commission is playing an integral role in this important initiative launched by the Minister for Transport at Parliament House on 11 May 2011. Over the coming decade a goal of reducing the incidence of deaths and serious injury on Queensland roads by 30 per cent has been set. The Commission will work closely with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and other agencies to support initiatives that help reach this objective – not only to ensure Queensland has safer roads, but also to reduce costs to the Queensland CTP scheme and thereby ultimately reduce costs to Queensland motorists.

CARRS-Q and CONROD

The Commission proudly maintains close working relationships with the Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland (CARRS-Q) and the Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (CONROD) as our principal research centres co-funded with, and based respectively at, Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland. This research activity provides high quality evidence based research to guide and inform decision making on road safety and rehabilitation issues as well as supporting associated education programs. The national and international standing afforded to CARRS-Q and CONROD is testament to the vision and capability of their leaders and staff and builds even greater expertise for the future.

Nominal Defendant

The Nominal Defendant established in 1961, celebrated its silver anniversary in April 2011. Not only does the Nominal Defendant perform a very important policy function of supporting injured people who, through no fault of their own, are injured by an unregistered or unidentified motor vehicle, but it also underpins the financial strength of the CTP scheme.

The Nominal Defendant stepped in and protected many people when HIH collapsed in 2000 and left FAI CTP claimants in limbo. The run-off of those claims continues today and we have been able to secure a recovery of up to 75 cents in the dollar from the HIH liquidator.

It is timely to recognise the contribution of the many staff who have professionally and capably performed the important work of the ‘Nommo’ during its fifty year history. It is also pleasing to note that in the silver anniversary year of the Nominal Defendant, Queensland motorists no longer pay the HIH levy and from 1 July 2011 vehicle owners will see a reduction in the Nominal Defendant levy in their CTP premiums.

To the Future

Looking forward, the Commission is well positioned to manage and respond to any reforms arising from the proposed National Heavy Vehicle legislation or the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into a National Disability Care and Support Scheme. The Commission will continue its focus on scheme affordability and also explore scheme efficiency as well as investing in resources and a systems upgrade to provide greater capability to analyse scheme trends. This will better inform regulatory supervision of the scheme as well as directing research and infrastructure investment decisions with the goal of further improving scheme performance.

I look forward to 2011-12 as a year where the Commission builds and delivers on a range of initiatives that ensures financial protection that makes Queensland stronger, fairer and safer.

Neil Singleton

Our report card

Highlights Performance indicators Notes Target Outcome
ObjectiveProvide a viable and equitable personal injury motor accident insurance scheme.
  • Earned $12.818 million in investment income on the MAI Fund.

Setting of premium bands within legislated timeframes.

100%
  • Expended $5.8 million on initiatives aimed at reducing or eliminating the frequency of motor vehicle accidents and minimising their impact.

Recommendation to the Treasurer of annual CTP levies by legislated timeframes.

100%
  • October 2010 reforms that fundamentally changed CTP insurer intermediary distribution arrangements. When combined with the removal of the HIH levy, the reforms delivered real premium savings of $24 to Class 1 motorists.

Funds expended on grants per registered vehicle.

$0.60
ObjectiveImprove the performance of the Nominal Defendant operation.
  • Finalised 804 Claims (including 13 FAI claims).
  • Recovered $492,544.

Number of Nominal Defendant claims finalised as a percentage of total outstanding claims.

52%
  • Earned $70.605 million in investment income on the Nominal Defendant Fund.

Percentage of Nominal Defendant claims settled within two years of compliance.

48%
  • Enhanced performance management by finalising all outstanding recommendations from Queensland Treasury internal audit on Nominal Defendant claims functions.

Percentage of Nominal Defendant claims with General Damages paid within 60 days of the settlement date.

83%
ObjectiveProvide a corporate governance model that facilitates the Commission's vision and meets the State's financial and performance standards.
  • External audit reports and ongoing internal audits confirm our financial corporate governance structure is appropriate and meets requirements.
  • Continued claims development program for AO5/AO6 staff.

Financial requirements outlined in the Financial Accountability Act 2009 are met.

100%
  • Implemented Capabilities Leadership Framework to align recruitment processes with Queensland Government guidelines.
  • Introduced on line training modules on topics of interest.

Planning and reporting requirements outlined in the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 are met.

100%

Staff capabilities align with strategic plan.

100%

Our research and sponsorship investment

The Commission continues to invest in quality research in road safety and injury management with the aim of reducing the frequency of motor vehicle accidents and the resulting impact on injured people, the CTP scheme and our community.

Significant initiatives in injury management and prevention for the year are discussed below with further details on our road safety initiatives available in the feature article ‘Prevention is better than the cure’.

Stimulant Medication for Children with Traumatic Brain Injury – Stage Two

Each year, many young Queenslanders sustain a brain injury through traumatic incidents such as from motor vehicle accidents. Between 2005 and 2009, data from the Queensland Trauma Registry shows that at least 551 children under 15 years sustained an intracranial (brain) injury and 125 (23%) of these were from road traffic related crashes.

Recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI) is highly variable. Some children will experience difficulty with concentration, fatigue and behavioural regulation which can interfere with their rehabilitation, participation in the classroom and general learning and skill development. Promising improvements in these areas were found in a pilot study on the use of stimulant medication in children with TBI conducted by the University of Queensland and the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and funded by the Commission.

Based on the results of this pilot study, the Commission has recently provided further funding to conduct a larger scale study over the next two years to validate these initial findings. Recruitment will take place at the RCH as well as in New South Wales at the Royal Children’s and Westmead Hospitals.

The Transition Co-ordinator Pilot Project

For children with a serious injury or disability and their families, a smooth transition between services which cater for children and those for adults is important to ensure continuity of necessary intervention and support. The Commission is funding a pilot project undertaken by the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (QPRS) to develop resources to facilitate the transition for children who have sustained a brain injury into adult services.

This project includes trialling a new Transition Co-ordinator staff position based at QPRS to improve fluency between services and empower and support young people and their families through the transition phase. The project will also involve establishing a resource and educational database, as well as developing processes to formalise the transition between services. Evidence from the piloting of this position may be used to make a case for future permanent funding of this Transition Co-ordinator position.

Publication of Second Edition of the Whiplash booklet

In 2005, the Commission funded the development of a whiplash self management booklet to aid recovery for those suffering whiplash associated disorders. During 2010-11 the Commission provided additional funds to the University of Queensland to produce a second edition. The new edition follows a literature review and focus groups to ensure currency of content and the information and mode of delivery meets the needs of consumers. The booklet has been extended to include additional information and exercises. The authors of the second edition, Professor Gwendolen Jull and Associate Professor Michele Sterling have strong international reputations in the world of whiplash research. This new edition, published in June 2011 and titled ‘Whiplash Injury Recovery, A Self Help Guide’, is available through the Commission’s website.

A CTP Claimant Survey

CONROD, through the Vocational and Community Rehabilitation stream based at Griffith University, undertook a survey of previous CTP claimants on behalf of the Commission. The aim was to gain claimants’ perspectives on the CTP scheme including on claims management processes and rehabilitation. Findings from this survey will be used by the Commission to improve information available to injured parties on the CTP claim process.

Physical and mental health outcomes for CTP claimants with minor or moderate injuries – a longitudinal study

CONROD commenced a study on the physical and mental health outcomes of CTP claimants with minor or moderate injuries. Study participants will be followed for two years after their injury in order to determine whether any factors influence health outcomes. It is hoped that the study may identify ways to better target rehabilitation efforts for CTP claimants.

Sponsorships

The Commission continues to provide sponsorships to a range of initiatives in the area of injury prevention and injury management. The Whiplash Symposium and the Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT) program were two such activities that attracted sponsorship funding from the Commission.

The Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health at the University of Queensland held an international symposium on whiplash injury attended by some of the world’s leading researchers in this field. This was an important opportunity for researchers to consolidate their future research agendas and disseminate their research findings to treatment providers, CTP insurers and policy makers from around the country. The focus of the symposium on how to reduce the number of people who experience persistent or chronic symptoms from whiplash is highly relevant to the scheme as whiplash remains one of the most common injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.

The Commission provided funds to the Spinal Injury Association for the Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT) program. SEAT, an injury prevention program aimed at school children, delivers important messages on road safety including the detrimental consequences of speeding, drink-driving, fatigue and not wearing a seat belt while driving. The program is delivered by presenters who have sustained a spinal cord injury. Additional funds were also provided by the Commission to equip SEAT presenters with laptops and projectors to enhance SEAT’s delivery of these key road safety messages to Queensland school children.

Investment in Road Safety

A personal perspective on road safety – Wayne’s Story

Travelling on roads is part of our everyday life as we navigate our way to various destinations for a multitude of reasons. For the vast majority of road users these journeys are usually not memorable as we focus less on the journey but more on the destination. For an unfortunate few however what begins as the norm ends up being their final journey as lives are lost or in the case of serious injury their lives changed forever.

Such was the experience of Wayne Horkings, who as a 17 year old, set off with his friends to enjoy a Friday night that had started off like so many others with mates to see, parties to attend and generally fun to be had. The possibilities were endless. On this particular night Wayne was assigned the role of designated driver which suited him just fine as he was not interested in drinking.

Problems started, however, when the group had a pit stop driving from one party to the next and on his return, the driver’s seat had become occupied by one of his mates’ girlfriends. Despite his protests for her to move and to let him drive as he was aware she had been drinking, Wayne succumbed to his mates’ pressure and assurances not to worry and against his better judgement he climbed into the back seat.

Before too long, Wayne found himself a passenger in a car travelling at speeds of around 160 kilometres an hour. Suddenly the driver lost control, missed a bend and the vehicle flew about 150 metres over a cliff.

115 days later, Wayne woke from his coma to face the realities of his new life. Sustaining a brain injury and quadriplegia, Wayne not only had to cope with the devastating truth that he would never walk again but also that as a result of his brain injury simple things like talking, eating, dressing and sitting up presented great difficulties. ‘It was like I’d just been born grown up. I could move my left arm that was it. So I had to learn to do everything.’

Sadly Wayne was also to learn of the death of two of his friends from the crash. Both were passengers in the back seat with Wayne that night but chose not to wear their seat belts. He was told that it had been five hours before help arrived at the scene and that wearing his seat belt had saved his life. What he or anyone else didn’t know at the time was that it would be four long years after his accident before Wayne would finally leave hospital.

Wayne is also the first to acknowledge the significant impact this crash had directly on his family, initially coping with the stress and worry following the crash and then providing the long term support to Wayne so that he could start putting his life back together.

26 years on from that fateful evening, Wayne Horkings is driving, living independently and enjoying life. He has however given himself a further challenge – to make a difference to young people by his involvement in the Spinal Injuries Association’s Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT). Wayne and other members of the SEAT team all of whom have sustained spinal cord injuries, volunteer their time travelling to schools across Queensland with the aim of reducing the incidence of spinal cord injury.

SEAT presenters such as Wayne share their personal stories with their young audience emphasising key injury prevention messages as well as how they manage with their disability. In Queensland, road trauma remains one of the most common causes of traumatic spinal cord injury so changing the behaviours and attitudes of children towards road safety is crucial. In Wayne’s case he uses his personal experience to communicate with his young audience on the dangers of speeding, drink driving or getting into the car knowingly with someone who has been drinking or is impaired by drugs, not giving in to peer pressure and of course the importance of wearing a seat belt. ‘We want our young children to experience everything in life, so it’s not about stopping the fun, it’s about making the right choices in life’ he said.

The Commission has been a financial supporter of the SEAT program since 2006. In 2010 over 99,000 students attended more than 500 SEAT presentations across Queensland. The Commission’s contribution to the operations of SEAT has helped the Spinal Injuries Association to offer these presentations to schools free of charge.

 

‘Prevention is better than the cure’ – A look at the Commission’s investment in improving safety on Queensland roads

Like Wayne and his fellow SEAT presenters, the Commission shares their commitment to making a difference on our roads by investing in a range of initiatives from research to education and public awareness.

Introduction

As a community we can become immune and numb to the frequently reported carnage on our roads. However Wayne’s story reminds us of the personal cost and impact on the individual, family and friends which can last a lifetime as well as evidence of the indomitable spirit to overcome and succeed despite these major setbacks in life.

Wayne’s story is not unique. Approximately 3915 Queenslanders are hospitalised annually as a result of transport crashes with almost one in five being a male between the age of 15 and 24 years of age. The Queensland Trauma Registry indicates in its ‘2009 Description of Serious Injury’ report that the treatment of patients injured in transport crashes represents approximately 27 percent of the acute bed days available across Queensland’s 20 public hospitals that treat seriously injured patients, with 663 patients requiring admittance to intensive care units. 59 percent required at least one operation, with the most common types of injuries being fractures, intra cranial injuries and injuries to internal organs.

The number of crashes on our roads also has a direct link to premiums and affordability in the Queensland CTP scheme. The scheme covers the cost of compensation claims for personal injury sustained as the result of the negligence of the owner or driver of a motor vehicle and where the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 applies. Increasing claims frequency or claims size will conversely put pressure on CTP insurers to raise premiums to cover the additional cost of these claims. During 2010-11, 7107 claims were finalised with total claims payments of more than $770 million.

Given the long tail nature of some claims many of the crashes which resulted in these claims had occurred several years earlier.

The impact of road traffic crashes to the wider community is huge in terms of the burden on hospitals, health systems, families, community resources and lost productivity. It is estimated that the social costs of road crashes nationally is $17.85 billion. Analysis of 2006 data by the Federal Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics indicated that in Queensland alone the cost was $3.55 billion. These social costs include fatalities, hospitalised and non-hospitalised injuries and property damage.

This problem is magnified when considered on a global scale. Imagine the concern and call for action if a global pandemic occurred that killed on an annual basis nearly 1.3 million people and affected a further 50 million people. Yet this is the hard truth about road trauma and with road traffic injuries the number one worldwide cause of death for young people and a forecast of road traffic deaths to rise to 1.9 million by 2020, the United Nations is leading the call for action. The United Nations has proclaimed 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Officially launched on 11 May 2011 in more than 90 countries, it is an opportunity globally to reflect on ways to make our roads and communities safer.

The goal for the decade is to stabilise and reduce the number of road traffic fatalities around the world by 2020. The Commission will partner with key stakeholders to determine how to most effectively play its part in this global initiative.

Road crashes are preventable. Given the significant impact on individuals, their families and the wider community, investment in road safety has been a focus since the Commission started back in 1994. Primarily this has been achieved through a partnership with the Queensland University of Technology in the establishment and funding of the Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q).

Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q)

CARRS-Q was established in 1996 as a joint initiative of the Commission and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The aim of establishing this research centre was to stimulate study, initiate research and projects, provide education and assist in the promotion of injury prevention and road safety. Today fifteen years on, CARRS-Q is now internationally renowned as a reputable research centre in the field of road accident causation and prevention and the minimisation of the social and economic costs associated with road trauma.

One of CARRS-Q’s main commitments during the current funding period was to undertake state and national research priorities that provide an evidence base to influence future Government and industry policies and practices. Between 2006 – 2010 CARRS-Q’s research has contributed to the implementation of the following highly significant road safety initiatives in Queensland in association with key road safety stakeholders including Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Emergency Services.

  • Introduction of random roadside drug testing in December 2007 on a full time basis which was based largely on trial testing undertaken by CARRS-Q in conjunction with QPS. Based on saliva testing, cannabis, speed and ecstasy can be detected. By mid 2010, QPS reported that after two and a half years of testing approximately 630 offenders have been detected.
  • Provision of specific advice to DTMR concerning best options for implementing alcohol ignition interlocks for high level or repeat drink drivers in Queensland. This advice was based on a series of trials from CARRS-Q’s researchers and contributed to the Queensland Government ratifying legislation around the use of these interlocks in August 2010.
  • Contributing to the introduction of the new Graduated Licensing Scheme for novice drivers in Queensland from 1 July 2007 through being an invited expert panellist, contributing to the development of the Young Driver safety discussion paper and engaging a PhD student to research the effectiveness of this Scheme.
  • Being heavily involved in the development of the Queensland Motorcycle Safety Strategy from 2009-2012 which articulates the Queensland Government’s commitment to improving safety for motorcyclists on our roads. In particular CARRS-Q’s research into the risk and exposure of riders licensed through existing learner riding programs has led to several legislated enhancements in the learner rider area being introduced. Data from the Queensland Trauma Registry’s 2009 report on serious injury shows of the 3,915 people admitted to public hospitals captured by this Registry, 1,236 or (31%) were motorcycle riders.

The Centre’s expertise and reputation were again highlighted with the recent announcement by the Transport Minister, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to include Professor Barry Watson, Director of CARRS-Q on the expert panel on separate reviews on the licensing rules surrounding older drivers and Queensland’s driving test known as Q-SAFE.

CARRS-Q also has a dedicated research program in Occupational Safety and from this research has developed fleet safety products, education programs and interventions to counter the incidence of these accidents. Queensland Trauma Registry’s 2009 Serious Injury Report highlighted the need to focus on occupational safety as approximately a quarter of those admitted to hospital as a result of a road crash were on work related business.

The Centre’s occupational safety interventions have been delivered to organisations from the rail, power, mining and policing sectors as well as commercial businesses and Government organisations such as Q-Fleet which manages the Queensland government pool of vehicles. Organisations who have utilised these products developed by CARRS-Q have reported reductions in the frequency of accidents.

CARRS-Q’s research agenda also incorporates a focus on the use of technology and information systems, in order to test both existing and future technologies from a road safety perspective. The acquisition of an advanced driving simulator which was commissioned in 2010 has been a significant coup for CARRS-Q. The Commission was a contributory funder to this $1.5 million simulator which will enable CARRS-Q’s researchers to study driving behaviour that would not be practically, logistically or ethically possible under normal road conditions.

Educational Programs

In addition to its research programs, a key priority of CARRS-Q is in the area of education. Fifteen years ago when the Centre was established there were very few Australian trained post graduate students with qualifications in road safety.

Today as a result of offering Graduate Certificate and Diploma in Road Safety courses, CARRS-Q is helping to foster expertise in road safety by providing specialist, multi-disciplinary training. In addition to the Graduate Certificate/Diploma, particular units within these courses are also offered in short course mode. Included in these short courses are the Road Safety audit course and the Road Safety evaluation methods course.

Three road safety units are also being offered as part of QUT’s School of Psychology and Counselling’s Bachelor of Behavioural Science and have proven to be highly successful in generating interest around road safety amongst undergraduate students.

Overall CARRS-Q has had 21 PhD and four Masters students complete their studies which have substantially added to the pool of road safety researchers in Australia including within its own ranks. Students who have obtained these qualifications have gone on to work in the road safety policy area with several currently employed in senior positions in DTMR directly shaping policy on key road safety issues. Recently CARRS-Q has established an Alumni program to maintain links between current and former staff and students.

From a concept that was given seed funding in the mid 1990s to the Centre that exists today, the Commission is proud of its association with CARRS-Q and the contribution it has made to improving safety on our roads. In 2010 the Queensland road toll was the lowest on record since 1951.

While this decline can be attributed to a number of factors including the economic cycle and improved vehicle and road infrastructure, the Queensland Government’s efforts in strengthening existing counter measures and implementing road safety policies has also made a significant contribution. This is reflected by the reduction in fatalities caused by drink driving, speeding, fatigue, young drivers, heavy vehicle and motorcycle riders, all of which have been key research priorities of CARRS-Q.

The Commission is currently working with CARRS-Q to consider future funding options and priorities which can be explored and may lead to further reductions of the number of crashes on our roads.

Relationship with DTMR

In Queensland, DTMR is the lead agency in relation to road safety. In recent years the Commission has strengthened its relationship with DTMR in terms of providing funding for research into mutually beneficial topics including unlicensed driving and unregistered vehicles, motorcycle safety and an evaluation of the introduction of the graduated licensing program for young drivers.

Further information on these issues is of immense value to the Commission as unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles are a direct cost to the community as the costs of any claims made by an injured third party against those driving unregistered vehicles are paid by all motor vehicle owners through the Nominal Defendant levy which is included in the CTP premium. Unregistered vehicles also represent a loss of revenue for DTMR which could be used to invest in the ongoing maintenance and upgrades of road infrastructure to improve safety.

Research into motorcycle safety and young drivers is also of relevance as both of these groups continue to be highly represented in crash data and in the case of young drivers over represented in CTP claims data.

The Commission’s staff are also represented on key DTMR committees including the Queensland Road Safety Advisory Group and Queensland Motorcycle Safety Advisory group. Through these forums Commission staff provided feedback into the National Road Safety Strategy. This Strategy which was released by the Commonwealth Government in May 2011 is framed by the guiding vision that no person should be killed or seriously injured on Australia’s roads. As a step towards this long-term vision, the strategy presents a 10-year plan to reduce the annual numbers of both deaths and serious injuries on Australian roads by at least 30 per cent.

The Commission has further strengthened its relationship with DTMR by its recent commitment to join the Academic Strategic Transport Alliance (ASTRA). Established over a decade ago originally as a partnership between DTMR, Queensland Rail and other stakeholders, ASTRA provides a forum in which transport related research can be undertaken. Chairs of research have been established at the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University and have to date conducted research focused on road engineering, public transport and traffic congestion.

The Commission’s involvement in ASTRA will be the impetus to introduce a specific road safety focus to this research forum and as such represents an opportunity for the Commission to develop and influence researchers in the road safety field.

Conclusion

With the recent launch of the United Nations Decade of Road Safety from 2011-2020 and the release of the National Road Safety Strategy, there is considerable momentum and interest around road safety. The Commission’s future challenge is to use these two initiatives and their targets as a framework for our investment strategy in road safety and injury prevention with the aim of delivering direct benefits to Queensland’s CTP scheme as well as the wider community.

However there is also a real opportunity for each and every one of us as community members to play our part in meeting the United Nations’ targets of significantly reducing the road toll and serious injury rates by 2020. By taking personal responsibility for our actions and making the right choices on our roads we can all contribute to making a real difference.

Our structure

Management and organisational structure

2010-11-annual-report-org-chart

Our leadership team

The below roles comprised our leadership team, as at 30 June 2011.

B. Business (Insurance), MBA, ANZIIF (Fellow), CIP, GAICD
Appointed as Insurance Commissioner in December 2010. Prior to this appointment Neil acquired over 30 years insurance experience across a broad range of management and executive positions including 14 years at Suncorp.

Neil’s responsibilities include providing strong strategic leadership to ensure a viable, affordable and equitable CTP scheme in Queensland.

B.HSc. RN
Appointed to the Commission in 2001, Kim’s responsibilities include providing high-level strategic advice to the Insurance Commissioner and leading the development and implementation of strategies and policies for regulating the CTP Insurance Scheme in Queensland. Her roles within the Commission have encompassed management and policy advice on CTP insurance issues, injury management and claims. Kim has a nursing background covering all areas of clinical care and management and a further six years experience with the insurance industry working with CTP claims prior to her appointment to the Commission.

B. Phty, MBA, M.Comm, AFACHSE, CHE, CPA, ANZIIF (Allied)
Appointed to the Commission in 2006, Fanny’s responsibilities include managing the development of quality information to support the regulation and development of the CTP scheme. Her roles within the Commission have encompassed systems and database management, scheme analysis, and operations. Fanny has a physiotherapy background and ten years experience in health finance and administration with the Department of Health prior to her appointment to the Commission.

B.Phty, Grad Dip Rehab Counselling
Appointed to the Commission in 2002, Cathy’s responsibilities include providing high-level policy and strategic advice to the Insurance Commissioner and the General Manager, Motor Accident Insurance. Her roles within the Commission have encompassed research funding, information, education and policy advice on CTP insurance issues. Cathy has a health services background in physiotherapy and rehabilitation counselling with a further three years experience with the insurance industry working with CTP claims prior to her appointment to the Commission.

B.Com, CA
Appointed to the Commission in 2006, Lina’s responsibilities include strategic and business planning, financial management, office management, records management, workforce planning and ensuring the Commission meets statutory and government reporting obligations. Lina has an accountancy and auditing background covering the chartered profession, commerce, industry, and more recently the public sector, with more than five years experience in management prior to her appointment to the Commission.

Appointed to the Commission in 2010, Mike’s responsibilities include the efficient and effective day to day management of the claims function of the Nominal Defendant. His roles within the Commission have encompassed the provision of strategic advice and the development and implementation of claims management initiatives. Mike has extensive operational insurance experience and prior to his appointment to the Commission held a number of management positions within the personal injury claims environment.

Our recruitment, development and retention

At the Commission, we are committed to achieving our vision and our business objectives and it is our highly motivated and skilled people that enable us to make this happen. We continuously ensure our staff is provided with the necessary training/knowledge including a work environment that is challenging and flexible in order to retain a diverse range of skills across the office. Today our teams include people with expertise in insurance, claims management, systems, finance and injury management.

Recruitment

In 2010-11, our workforce remained stable with the only staff member to permanently leave the organisation being the former Insurance Commissioner, John Hand who retired in August 2010. A few permanent staff members are also currently on secondments or extended leave and as a result it was necessary to recruit temporary staff to fill these vacancies. As required by the State Government, our recruitment processes are now fully compliant with the Capabilities Leadership Framework (CLF). Training in this new framework was made available to all Commission staff.

Development

We remain committed to providing our staff with access to learning and development opportunities that enhance work skills and knowledge. Employees are encouraged and supported to apply for study assistance in the form of financial support for approved studies or time away from work to attend lectures and exams.

In 2010-11, staff undertook formal study in the following fields:

  • Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance certificate and diplomas in General Insurance
  • Masters of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Accounting.

Staff also had the opportunity to attend short form courses and seminars on topics of interest including insurance, actuarial, financial, information technology and Queensland Parliamentary training.

This year we continued the internal claims development program aimed at existing AO5/A06 staff. The purpose of the program is to help staff develop their knowledge of claims and insurance fundamentals. Matthew Waugh participated in this program. Matthew is a Grants Coordinator in the Policy and Strategy Team.

The online training modules on the Motor Accident Insurance Act are now fully functional and feedback from staff have been positive. As part of our commitment to personal and professional development, staff are also encouraged to attend courses relevant to their work area as well as in areas of development to enable them to relieve within the Commission.

A Workforce Planning Committee made up of senior managers ensures we have the correct skills mix to deliver our business objectives. Moving forward, the Executive Management Group will be identifying capability and capacity gaps in order to develop strategies to skill our workforce for future challenges.

Retention

At the Commission, we appreciate the increasing importance of flexible work arrangement options for our people in maintaining a diverse, adaptive and high performance workforce. We recognise that flexible work options can also assist in attracting and retaining valuable skills and is an important contribution to the participation of diverse groups in our workforce.

This year in continuing to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for our people, a workplace assessment was completed for the Nominal Defendant with recommendations for improvement which will be implemented in the next financial year.

Staff are also supported to maintain currency on first aid training and provided with the opportunity to attend free health checks and annual flu vaccinations.

Carers (Recognition) Act 2008

The Commission values and supports the carers in our workforce in achieving work-life balance. We are guided by Treasury’s policies with respect to staff entitlements under this Act and ensure that our staff has access to flexible leave and work practices and a range of information and services to help them as carers.

Staff are encouraged to participate in Treasury initiatives which are broadcast via e-messaging and also through the intranet. They also have access to Treasury’s ‘carer’s room’ which provides a comfortable, well-equipped environment with full network and internet access so that staff can care for their dependants at work should the need arise.

Code of Conduct

We value and promote a fair, safe and ethical work environment. We conduct our operations with integrity and fairness, ensuring our staff adopt the highest ethical standards of behaviour in carrying out their responsibilities. The Commission adhered to Treasury’s Code of Conduct until December 2010 and our staff undertook mandatory online Code of Conduct training which reflected Crime and Misconduct Commission best practice guidelines.

From 1 January 2011, Treasury adopted the new whole-of-Government Code of Conduct and staff at the Commission have been made aware of this through email and via the intranet. It is anticipated that training for Treasury’s senior executives is being developed for delivery from September 2011 with the aim that training for all staff would be available from August 2012.

Workforce Statistics as at 30 June 2011

Full-time equivalents 34.2
Permanent retention rate 97.56%
Permanent separation rate 2.44%
Voluntary Early Retirements and Deployments 0

Development

‘Participating in this Claims Development Program was a valuable experience for me having had previous limited experience in the claims field. I acquired further knowledge of key legislation and most importantly got the opportunity to obtain practical, hands on experience in managing claims ranging right from the receipt of the claim to attending settlement conferences’.

Our legislation, audit, risk management and information systems

Corporate Governance is the system by which our business is managed to ensure optimum outcomes are achieved. It provides both structure and rigour to govern transparent and effective decision making that minimises risk of mismanagement within the organisation. The effectiveness of our governance is evidenced in our achievements throughout this report with its foundations in the following areas.

Legislation

Legislation governs our operations. Our primary piece of legislation is the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAIA) and its subsequent amendments. Under this legislation, the Insurance Commissioner constitutes the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.

The Insurance Commissioner is appointed under the Public Service Act 1996 and is responsible for administering the MAIA, encompassing responsibility for the Motor Accident Insurance Fund and the Nominal Defendant Fund.

The Insurance Commissioner reports to the State Parliament through the Minister for Finance, Natural Resources and the Arts and prepares an annual report, as required by the MAIA and the Financial Accountability Act 2009 (FAA).

Audit

Our governance framework incorporates both internal and external accountability measures.

Treasury provides internal audit services to the Commission and the Nominal Defendant. When working with the Commission and the Nominal Defendant the internal audit’s aim is to assess financial and administrative control systems and to make recommendations regarding the effectiveness of the systems.

The results of internal audits are reported to the Under Treasurer and include opinions regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of financial, operational, administrative and computer controls.

Additionally, recommendations may be made for strengthening and enhancing controls, if any weaknesses or breakdowns are evident.

In 2010-11, recommendations from the audit carried out in the last financial year on the Nominal Defendant have been finalised and implemented as required.

Externally, the Commission and Nominal Defendant are audited by the Queensland Audit Office in accordance with the FAA. The Commission and Nominal Defendant have achieved unqualified audits since the Commission commenced operations in 1994.

Risk management

Risk management forms an integral part of our decision-making, planning, policy development and regulatory activities. Our risk management philosophy is aided by Treasury, which provides us with a framework for regularly reviewing the importance, probability and treatment of risks.

Significant risks are recorded in the Commission and Nominal Defendant’s risk register, and managed through the strategic and business planning processes. The risk register is reviewed on a six monthly basis and it is also reviewed annually by the external auditors.

We have developed and maintained a business continuity plan to respond to defined risk events. This ensures business processes continue with minimal adverse impact on the CTP scheme. The Commission’s business continuity plan is tested annually. Specifics of this plan were implemented during the January 2011 floods which affected Brisbane’s CBD area in which the Commission’s office is located.

In addition to managing operational risks, as part of our project management methodology, we identify risks associated with projects and develop solutions to mitigate and manage them. Project reporting includes continual assessment of risks, their impact and the need for intervention.

Information systems and record keeping

Effective record keeping is fundamental to good business as they are evidence of business activities, transactions and decisions. In addition to managing records as a dependable resource, the Commission’s staff aim to create and capture complete and accurate records in both paper and electronic form. They are managed until they have completed their lifecycle where they are archived and disposed of in accordance with the Queensland State Archives Retention and Disposal schedule.

During this financial year we embarked on a significant project to more effectively link our paper and electronic record keeping systems. This project has also increased accessibility to hard copy records by storing them in closer proximity to the work areas utilising them.

The Commission’s recordkeeping framework aligns with Queensland Treasury’s Information Management Framework. The framework aims to ensure our records management practices are consistent with other offices within the Treasury portfolio and are compliant with current legislation and best practice record keeping standards. These include Public Records Act 2002Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTA) and Information Standard 18 : Information SecurityInformation Standard 31 : Retention and Disposal of Government InformationInformation Standard 34 : MetadataInformation Standard 38 : Use of ICT Facilities and Devices and Information Standard 40: Recordkeeping.

Our levies and administration fee

Queensland’s CTP insurance premium contains levies and an administration fee to help cover the costs involved in delivering different components of the CTP scheme. These levies and administration fee are calculated annually and include the Statutory Insurance Scheme Levy, the Nominal Defendant Levy, the Hospital and Emergency Services Levy and an Administration Fee (payable to the Department of Transport and Main Roads).

The Statutory Insurance Scheme Levy

The Statutory Insurance Scheme Levy covers the estimated operating costs of administering the Motor Accident Insurance Act 1994 (MAIA) and also provides funding for research into accident prevention and injury mitigation. From 1 July 2010, the Levy increased by 5 cents to $1.80 per policy to offset the costs of systems development. For the 2010-11 year, the Levy collected income of $6.408 million. From 1 July 2011, the Statutory Insurance Scheme Levy will increase by an additional 5 cents to $1.85 per policy to meet general increases in operational expenses for the Commission.

The Nominal Defendant Levy

The Nominal Defendant Levy, which varies by vehicle class, covers the estimated costs of the Nominal Defendant scheme which provides funds to pay for claims relating to uninsured or unidentified vehicles. The Levy is set having regard to an actuarial assessment of claim trends. From 1 July 2010, the Levy for Class 1 vehicles was $17.20. This was decreased to $13.20 following the elimination of the HIH levy on 1 October 2010. In 2010/11 approximately $50.188 million was collected.

The Hospital and Emergency Services Levy

The Hospital and Emergency Services Levy is designed to cover a reasonable proportion of the estimated cost of providing public hospital and public emergency services to people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents, who use such services and who are claimants or potential claimants under the CTP scheme.

The Levy amount calculated varies by vehicle class. From 1 July 2010, the Hospital and Emergency Services Levy increased by $1.15 to $14.40 for Class 1 vehicles. Proceeds from this levy are then apportioned to Queensland Health and the Department of Community Safety.

The Administration Fee

The Administration Fee is the fee payable to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for delivering administrative support for the CTP scheme. From 1 July 2010, the Fee remained at $7.60 per policy. In the 2010-11 year, $29.733 million was collected. From 1 July 2011, the Administration Fee has been increased by 10 cents per policy to $7.70 to meet increasing mail processing, staff and transaction costs.

Nominal Defendant Performance

The collapse of HIH Insurance in 2001 required the Nominal Defendant to assume responsibility for claims liabilities in excess of $400 million. Since June 2006, Nominal Defendant has recovered funds on an increasing scale of up to 75 cents in the dollar from the HIH Liquidator. This is a pleasing outcome and reflects the continued diligence of Nominal Defendant officers in their management of this recovery process.

With the strength of this recovery the Nominal Defendant was able to refund to MAIC in 2010/11 $57.818 million in funds that was transferred to the Nominal Defendant in December 2001 to assist in meeting these claims liabilities.

The Nominal Defendant has also repaid the Queensland Government through Queensland Treasury $187.598 million that was borrowed at the time of the HIH collapse, in accordance with the deed of indemnity to fund shortfalls for the assumed HIH CTP liabilities.

Our statistics

The statistical report (PDF 145 K) covers all aspects of the CTP scheme including:

  • Premium prices benchmarked against the affordability index
  • Market share of insurers
  • Claim frequency and claim propensity
  • Accident data by region, age and gender
  • Claim severity and injury type
  • Claims by accident year and duration
  • Legal representation and litigation figures
  • Heads of damage.

Our financial information

These financial statements are an electronic presentation of the audited statements for the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and the Nominal Defendant.

Our financial information (PDF 250 K).

Last modified 2 November 2017