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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 1300 366 979.
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, 1.9 MB).
Phases of a licence
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.
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:
- visit the Comcare website for an overview of the SRC Act. Most content on the Comcare website applies to self-insured licensees operating within the Commonwealth jurisdiction and their employees
- learn more through the SRC Act and Comcare scheme overview course available on Comcare’s learning management system (Comcare LMS). You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS. If you already have an account, login to Comcare LMS with your username, which is your email address, and password
- discover the scheme performance of licensees
- speak with current self-insured licensees about their experience.