Insuring our future

I hate insurance.  Always have.  Seems like the biggest rort in the history of the Universe.  I give you money, and you give some of it back to me if some pre-agreed bad thing happens.  And if I do claim, you charge me more.

It is a necessary evil, but it bugs me.  I think it started when an insurance salesman said to me “But you have to think about what happens, if you lose EVERYTHING!”  All I could think to say was, “No I don’t.”  It seems wise to generally not think about that.

ACC is not insurance.  It’s a public compensation scheme.  Big difference, and one of the other main reasons why people get so upset when they don’t receive their entitled payouts. (see: Blow your own whistle)

Insurance is a product, you can buy or not buy.  The company that sells it to you has only one primary aim, make money for their shareholders and that’s about balancing risk and price.  If your insurance company tries to rip you off you can go to the Insurance Ombudsman.  You’re also protected by contract law.

You and I don’t have the same kind of contract with ACC.  Their contract is with the Government on our behalf.  And literally every person in the country at present is covered as of right, even if you’re just visiting Aotearoa.

ACC are there to protect all of us from the financial impact of accidents and in exchange we give away the right to sue for negligence.  If you’ve ever been to the USA I’m sure you were as shocked as me how dangerous all their food products are, literally every package has some form of warning, due to fear of someone choking to death on your chocolate product, or burning to death due to spilling your unexpectedly hot coffee.

Sucessive Governments of both flavours have caused the problems at ACC by restricting budgets and ignoring enquiries into their dysfunctional goings on.

A inquiry in 1994, by Judge Trapski (click here to download) that is being highlighted by the Green Party spokesperson for ACC Kevin Hague, is scary because it read like it could have been written yesterday, but refers to events that occurred 20 years ago.

ACC has reduced their liability by manipulating their “interpretation” of the legislation (see ACC Invents Time Machine: Uses it for Evil) and through the niggardly application of medical diagnoses.  These, and many more of ACC’s tricks are outlined in Bronwyn Pullar’s list of 45 breaches of Legislation, guideline and code breaches.  They are scarily familiar to anyone who has been involved with ACC for any length of time.

As a public compensation scheme ACC has a social responsibility to compensate all of us because as a nation we signed away a legal right to obtain the cover, not to mention we also directly and indirectly pay for it.

Given that successive governments have failed to hold ACC to account, the only option is for us to demand an independent inquiry.  The Auditor General is considering requests for an independent inquiry into the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).  It’s her job to investigate public bodies, on our behalf, and she is politically independent.

If like me, you have concerns I suggest you write her a short letter, or email before the end of the week.  I will be.


Office of the Auditor-General
Level 2, State Services Commission Building
100 Molesworth Street
Thorndon, Wellington 6011
PO Box 3928
Wellington 6140
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Leave a Comment

  • Nancy Peterson April 2, 2012, 1:31 pm

    Hi, Kyle,

    I’ve passed this on to everyone I can think of. You are doing a great job here. Just want to point out that your link to Judge Trapski doesn’t work.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Off the Couch: Kyle MacDonald April 2, 2012, 1:54 pm

      Thanks Nancy, good to get the word out. And I’ve fixed the link to the Trapski report.

  • Unicorn April 2, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Good on you Kyle.

    In the front of the ACC Legislation Manual, it calls itself an Insurance company, and refers to the insured, and the insurer within its legislation.

    What ACC are doing is initiating ‘Policy’ (outside of their legislation), and acting on it, eg running the corporation within their designer new Policy reccommendations, rather than within the ACC legislation.

    i have already sent my request for investigation into the continual corruption of ACC. OAG replied saying the AG will be announcing by the end of the week, whether it will be investigating or not!

    I have no idea what will happen next if John Key tells the AG that she cant investigate. Do you know where the AG stands in this regard – If PM says NO, does AG have to abide by this command?


  • kea April 2, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Thanks Kyle for the link – I will get onto this.

    Also, I read a story quoting Denise Cosgrove a senior ACC manager today; I must say I was rather dumb-founded by her term “Cute” – for lying. Illustrates how low the ACC culture has sunk, rather well.

    I agree whole heatedly with Unicorns comments. An Act of Parliament seems to be being conveniently ignored for popular successive Government policy- isn’t that Evasion and dare I say it corruption!

    • Off the Couch: Kyle MacDonald April 2, 2012, 3:49 pm

      Yes, that story seemed to suggest that ACC had succesfully manipulated a sector, and then found a way to “technically” tell the truth to the media. Not so much “cute” as morally reprehensible and disgusting…

  • Unicorn April 2, 2012, 3:57 pm

    Yes I read that article too! So she obviously thinks telling lies is “cute”. Its no wonder us claimants are exasperated! Its interesting how in that article, one of the doctors involved is leaking this vocational information anonymously…more will come out.

    ACC, in regard to this Voational Rehab, seem to be ignoring the recent McGrath case (which is now ‘common law’). What I really have trouble comprehending, is ACCs ability to get away with all their skulduggerous activities. The McGrath case clearly tells ACC that they can no longer expect to be able to put anyone through Voc Rehab until theyve been cleared by their GP for 30+ hours work per week. It can no longer be initiated merely because the Case Manager makes this decision. So…how and why are they allowed to get away with it?! And on this basis (McGrath), I understand why they (ACC) gagged the Vocational Rehab contractors. More skulduggery is afoot!

  • Off the Couch: Kyle MacDonald April 4, 2012, 5:48 pm

    Inquiry into aspects of ACC’s Board-level governance
    4 April 2012
    The Auditor-General, Lyn Provost, has decided to carry out an inquiry into how the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) manages risk at the Board level of the organisation. This document sets out the terms of reference for our inquiry.

    During March 2012, concerns were raised about a significant breach of privacy by ACC, and about the interaction between ACC and a particular client (Ms Pullar). We received several requests for the Auditor-General to inquire into aspects of that interaction and into ACC’s general operations.

    The Privacy Commissioner and the Board of ACC have already begun to investigate the privacy breach and to assess ACC’s policies and practices for the privacy and security of information. The Police are considering a complaint about a related matter.

    The Auditor-General has decided to inquire into aspects of ACC’s governance that will not be examined by the other investigations.

  • Unicorn April 4, 2012, 10:56 pm

    This is brilliant…I really like this “the Auditor General has decided to inquire into aspects of ACCs governance that will not be examined by the other investigations.

    And the other bit too “any other matters that the AG considers to report on.”

    Lets hope the corruption is FULLY revealed, and that the players are all made accountable for their actions.

    You must have helped Kyle. Thankyou. Godbless 🙂

  • David Wadsworth April 12, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Unfortunately, I feel ACC has a bunker mentality culture in order to defend what I consider to be a combination of incompetence and a Government directive to toughen up on claims. The culture of any organisation comes from the top. CEO’s may come and go, but below them is a level of management that I think is wanting, in my honest opinion. You cant make a silk purse of of a sow’s ear.

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