Collins orders ACC to treat clients fairly

Last updated 15:03 28/06/2012

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ACC minister Judith Collins has ordered the troubled state insurer to treat its clients fairly and improve its privacy controls, in a new contract made public today.

The new three year service and purchase agreement between the government and ACC was tabled at Parliament this afternoon.

It follows a series of scandals that have rocked the corporation, set off by a massive privacy breach last year. ACC has since come under fire for operating a policy that ensured long-term claimants were moved off its books.

Collins has set a series of priorities which include:

  • improve public trust and confidence
  • improve management and security of private information
  • maintain a focus on levy stability and financial sustainability
  • provide high quality services for clients, and
  • ensure early resolution of disputes.

The agreement will take effect from next month.

 "New Zealanders rightfully expect to be able to trust in ACC and its integrity and for ACC to ensure entitlements are delivered transparently and fairly to those who need them,'' Collins said.

"A critical priority for ACC is to promote and rebuild the trust and confidence of Kiwis in the scheme it manages on their behalf. Privacy and information security is also a priority and I expect ACC to improve its practices and culture in this area.''

She said ACC must follow a ''fair process'' and ensure clients receive ''fair entitlements.'' They must also '' minimise the number of disputes proceeding to review and litigation.''

The Bronwyn Pullar saga and massive privacy breach led to the resignations of former ACC minister Nick Smith, board chair John Judge, chief executive Ralph Stewart and three other board members.

It emerged ACC had been targeting what it called "low hanging fruit" and had slashed the number of long-term claimants from about 13,500 to 10,935 since 2009.

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