A licence to self-insure 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 location.
It enables eligible corporations and authorities to operate under a nationally consistent legislative scheme, the SRC Act, rather than multiple state jurisdictions with differing legislation.
Self-insurance is an option for private 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.
After being declared eligible by the Minister, the corporation 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 approval process.
Current or former Commonwealth authorities
Current or former Commonwealth authorities are eligible to apply for self-insurance to the SRCC.
For questions about eligibility you can contact Comcare by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 1300 366 979.
The SRCC grants self-insurance licences for up to eight years.
Work-related injuries and illness which occur during the licence period are managed and compensated under the SRC Act.
Injuries which occurred before the self-insurance licence commenced continue to be managed under state or territory 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
Under the SRC Act, the SRCC may grant a licence to self-insure to eligible corporations and current and former Commonwealth authorities. This licence enables them 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 their employees. This includes making determinations and paying compensation, including incapacity payments, medical treatment and arranging rehabilitation.
Licence inclusions and monitoring
A licence to self-insure sets out:
- whether the self-insured licensee is responsible for claims management, liability or both
- what claims management arrangements the self-insured licensee is authorised to have in place
- the time during which claims received should be managed under the licence
- scope of the licence, which identifies if all or some employees are covered
- conditions the self-insured licensee must meet to comply with the SRCC’s performance standards and measures.
Comcare assists the SRCC in managing the licensing arrangements, and monitors compliance of self-insured licensees with legislation and the licence conditions.
Comcare regularly reports to the SRCC in line with the Self-insurance Licence Compliance and Performance Model (PDF, 2.5 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 their 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 meeting 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, self-insured licensees, having demonstrated a level of system maturity, normally move to the ‘established’ classification.
During this phase, self-insured licensees must demonstrate they can maintain their management systems consistently in accordance with the SRCC’s performance standards and measures.
Self-insured licensees must also continue to report against conditions and performance standards during this phase, and may be subject to targeted reviews, audits or other regulatory action as directed by the SRCC.
Self-insured licensees will need to apply for an extension of their licence when they reach the end of their initial term, and at the end of each licence term.
Further research you can do
If you are considering self-insurance for your organisation, you may like to:
- learn more through our SRC Act and Comcare scheme overview course available on Comcare LMS, our learning management system. 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
- 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
- speak with current self-insured licensees about their experience
- discover the scheme performance of licensees.