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About self‑insurance

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

A self-insurance licence allows eligible corporations and Commonwealth authorities to manage their workers’ compensation arrangements and liabilities under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).

Benefits of self-insurance

Self-insurance under the SRC Act provides:

  • a single nationally streamlined approach to managing workers' compensation
  • uniform conditions for all employees covered, regardless of their geographical location.

It enables eligible corporations and authorities to operate under a nationally consistent legislative scheme, the SRC Act, rather than under multiple state and territory jurisdictions with differing legislation.


Eligible corporations

Self-insurance is an option for corporations that have been declared eligible by the responsible Minister.

To be considered for a self-insurance licence, corporations must first request a declaration of eligibility from the responsible Minister that they are eligible on the basis of being in competition with a current or former Commonwealth Authority.

A corporation can also seek a declaration if it was formerly a Commonwealth Authority, or if it is in the process of ceasing that status (eg. by being privatised).

After being declared eligible by the Minister, the corporation or exiting or former Commonwealth authority can apply to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) for a licence to self-insure under the SRC Act.

See Apply for a licence to self-insure for more information on the self-insurance application process.

Current Commonwealth authorities

Current Commonwealth authorities are eligible to apply for self-insurance to the SRCC, after consulting with their portfolio Minister.

For questions about eligibility you can contact Comcare by emailing or phoning 1300 366 979.

Licence coverage

Work-related injuries and illness which occur during the licence period are managed and compensated under the SRC Act.

Injuries which occurred under state and/or territory arrangements before the self-insurance licence commenced continue to be managed under those arrangements.

Work health and safety is regulated separately. See the list of current and former self-insured licensees for each licensee’s work health and safety coverage.

What self-insurance means in practice

A self-insurance licence enables a licensee to accept liability for, and/or manage, workers’ compensation claims for their employees.

This means that the employer is responsible for managing workers’ compensation claims by its employees. This includes making determinations and paying compensation, including incapacity payments, medical treatment and rehabilitation. Employers support employees to return to health and, where possible, work following a workplace injury. A licensee can choose to manage this themselves in-house or choose to engage a third-party claims manager provider.

Licence inclusions and oversight

The SRCC grants self-insurance licences for up to eight years.

A self-insurance licence sets out:

  • the licensee’s workers’ compensation claims liability and management arrangements including whether it will manage claims itself or engage a third-party claims manager
  • the period of the licence, this identifies claims with a date of injury occurring during this period will be managed under the licence
  • the scope of the licence, which identifies if all or some employees are covered
  • the conditions the licensee must meet to comply with the SRCC’s requirements.

Comcare supports the SRCC to oversee licensing arrangements, and monitors compliance of self-insured licensees with legislation and the licence conditions, including any performance standards set by the SRCC.

Comcare reports to the SRCC on licensee compliance and performance in line with the Self-insurance Licence Compliance and Performance Model (PDF, 2.0 MB).

Phases of a licence

Developing phase

Our regulatory approach recognises that employers starting out as a new self-insured licensee may initially require more support and monitoring to reach and maintain the SRCC’s performance standards and measures.

The two-year period immediately following the granting of a self-insurance licence is referred to as the developing phase.

During this phase, the self-insured licensee:

  • works closely with Comcare to develop its management systems
  • is subject to reviews of claims, rehabilitation, prevention and data systems to ensure that licence conditions and performance standards are met, or substantial progress is being made to meet these standards
  • begins to regularly report against licence conditions and performance standards.

We use a wide range of evidence to determine if the self-insured licensee is developing appropriately during this phase. If not, regulatory action can be directed, including extending the developing phase.

Established phase

After the initial two-year period, a self-insured licensee, having demonstrated it is meeting the SRCC’s performance standards and measures moves to the ‘established’ classification.

During this phase, self-insured licensees must demonstrate they continue to maintain their management systems in accordance with the SRCC’s performance standards and measures.

Self-insured licensees must also continue to report against conditions and performance standards, and may be subject to targeted reviews, audits or other regulatory action as directed by the SRCC.

Self-insured licensees need to apply for an extension of its licence before the licence period reaches the end of its term.

Further research you can do

If you are considering self-insurance for your organisation, you may like to:

Page last reviewed: 25 October 2022
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GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 |

Date printed 14 Jun 2024