The ongoing controversy over ACC (Accident Compensation Commission) seems to have turned into yet another “he said, she said” political scandal. Amidst all the hype and noise though, it’s easy to lose sight of perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this whole saga: the difficulty claimants seem to have in getting good assistance from ACC.
Amidst all the allegations of bullying and threats, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that business owners pay for ACC, and they should be able to expect that if their employees ever have need of the system, they will get the best possible service and care.
This is especially true for small businesses, who have a close relationship with their team members, and who pay sizeable ACC levies to make sure their staff are looked after.
In the last few years, our business community has worked incredibly hard through the recession and recovery. They are careful with their money, and they listen to their customers. It’s not unreasonable of them to expect that ACC will give them and their employees the same value for money.
Let’s not forget, the original purpose of ACC was to institute “no fault” insurance. Instead of a system like America’s where these decisions would be made by lawsuits and litigation, New Zealand and its employers went in a better direction, opting to make assistance available to anyone injured at work, to be paid for by levies from employers.
When it was instituted in the 1970’s ACC was a world leading system, providing the best care and assistance, while avoiding the sort of legal morass seen in other countries. Instead of having to jump through hoops, ACC was there for people and the system just worked. For small businesses, it was clearly worth paying the – often climbing – cost of levies, because the value for money was so clear.
That’s why the ongoing controversy surrounding Bronwyn Pullar and the accidental leaking of over 6500 claimant’s personal information is so worrying. It undermines the confidence in ACC as an institution that “just works”, which is at the heart of the bargain that makes the system possible.
Employers, especially in small business, want to make sure that their staff are looked after, and ACC offers a world-leading way to do that. But when levies keep rising, and the system stops working the way it should, employers are going to start wondering what it is they are getting for their employees with all the money they spend.
What do you think? Are you happy with the levies you’re paying and the service you and your team get from ACC?