New workers’ compensation laws proclaimed – common law insurance

Following up from Aurenda‘s blog last year (Unintended Consequences of WA’s WC Amendments) the Governor in Executive Council proclaimed 1 August 2012 for the commencement of the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Act 2012.

The supporting Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Regulations 2012 are also effective from 1 August 2012.

These legislative changes clarify common law insurance requirements under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (the Act) as a result of legal uncertainty over the scope of the insurance obligation introduced on 1 October 2011 by the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment Act 2011.

The legislative changes:

  • Clarify the definition of ‘damages’ for insurance purposes.
  • Provide that employers do not require common law insurance under the Act for ‘deemed workers’ – that is, workers of whom the employer would not be the employer but for being deemed an employer under sections 175 or 175AA for compensation purposes.
  • Retrospectively preserve insurance arrangements for employers of deemed workers insured under public liability insurance arrangements by preventing the denial of cover on the basis that the employer was required to be insured under the Act from from 1 October 2011 to 1 August 2012.
  • Limit, modify or exclude any requirement to hold insurance in respect of liabilities in prescribed circumstances or out of prescribed events. These are consistent with current employer indemnity arrangements and include:
    • a $50 million insurance limit on common law liabilities arising out of a single event.
    • an insurance exclusion regarding any liability to pay compensation or damages arising out of events such as war, military or usurped power.
    • an insurance exclusion regarding any liability to pay damages in respect of injuries occurring outside of Australia or in a jurisdiction outside of Australia.
    • an insurance exclusion regarding any liability to pay compensation or damages in respect of specified industrial diseases arising from employment in any mine or mining operation.
  • Preserve terms, conditions and exclusions in employer indemnity policies to the extent these comply with the corrective amendments in the Amendment Act and Regulations.

For further information on the legislative changes please contact Mr Kevin Gillingham, Manager Policy and Legislative Services at WorkCover WA, on 9388 5640.

Source of this article is Workcover WA

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Filed under Aurenda, Workers Compensation, workers' compensation amendments

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