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.
100 Molesworth Street
Thorndon, Wellington 6011