Rate rise fear

SMALL businesses are expecting insurance premium hikes if the WA Government’s workers’ compensation proposals become law.

Coalition of Small Business Associations of WA CEO Oliver Moon said his organisation welcomed the Government’s approach to injury management but feared it would add to small businesses’ insurance costs.

Under the Government proposal, insurance companies will be “required to develop injury management policies and procedures for use by small and medium-sized employers in accordance with WorkCover guidelines”.

Small Business and Enterprise Association executive director Philip Achurch said his initial reaction was that premiums were likely to go up because the Government proposed increasing access to common law.

“Our goal has been to have lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums for small to medium-sized businesses,” he said.

“If the Government is also going to increase the amount of payouts available through workers’ compensation then you can argue that it is not going to provide lower premiums.”

Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke said the changes were targeted at controlling costs and would keep premiums within the 2.4 per cent to 2.7 per cent of an employers’ payroll band suggested in a previous report into workers’ compensation by auditor general Des Pearson.

However, the discussion paper the Government has released includes an actuarial report that suggests the proposed changes will have a cost impact of between 7.5 per cent and 13.2 per cent.

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