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SMVAF’S BID TO TAKE OVER WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION

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MBABANE – The Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (SMVAF) has proposed for the provision of a one-stop shop for all compensable claims in the country that relate to both motor vehicle and occupational injuries.

The fund believes the compensation for injured workers, as provided for in the Workmen’s Compensation Act (WCA) of 1983, is similar to the cover offered by the SMVA Fund.
When making a presentation before the Portfolio Committee on Labour and Social Security, the fund mentioned that inasmuch as compensation for workmen was compulsory under the WCA, it was also the same case under the SMVA Fund. “Any compensation paid by someone else other than the employer in WCA claims is reimbursable by the employer or insurer of the employer. Theoretically, the SMVA Fund could seek redress for any benefits it pays to motor vehicle claimants,” the fund submitted to the committee as part of the process of making amendments to the WCA.

The fund said establishing a long-term deliberate Act of centralising the processing of claims of motor vehicle accident claimants at the SAMVA Fund was essential. “This Act could be extended to all workmen employment accident victims for WCA not just motor vehicle accidents. The SMVA Fund is very wide in its cover for motor vehicle accident victims. This centralisation of benefits will not interfere with the existence of the WCA, but enhance the quality of service for all claimants,” the fund said, while also stating that matters of reimbursement would be easy to manage and the WCA would still be liable to incept the cover. It listed a number of benefits it said would be accrued from this, one of which is that the fund has a well-established specialised infrastructure, which includes a modern investigative (radiology) clinic, periodic visitations for check-up, management of minor payments and of people with mental disability.

processing

The other perceived benefits are: speedy processing of claims and rehabilitation of victims; avoiding the confusion of who pays first and who should be reimbursed; claims costs would be centralised and easy to apportion to the various compensation schemes; and the SMVA Fund itself would achieve organic growth and fully utilise its well capitalised infrastructure. In its view, the fund said there were significant benefits that could be accrued both for the claimants and the country through enhanced and deliberate collaboration with the WCA. “Entrenching this within the legislation would enable that a centralised, cost-effective, and efficient claims processing and case management is in place to support the compensable injury claims,” the fund said. It, therefore, proposed to the committee that there be a provision of a deferment clause in the proposed amendment Bill enabling the SMVA Fund to process all claimants referred to the WCA for the compensation of workmen. “The SMVA Fund now deals with hot cases as the road accident victims are supported immediately the accident occurs from evacuation to treatment, rehabilitation to compensation. Translate the same rehabilitation model to WCA to accelerate the processing and finalisation of the WCA claims,” the fund proposed.

It also proposed for the establishment of mechanisms through which the SMVA could extend function of its developed infrastructure to WCA cases through its systems, processes and procedures. These, the fund said, would include medical investigations (radiology), access to Ekuphileni Clinic, case management, claims process, etcetera. The fund also proposed this: “SMVAF is the only entity that already has capacity and resources that can readily be deployed for a full range of claims assessment e.g. personal injury claims, case management, loss of income, general damages, etc. Establish mechanisms for collaboration and integration.”Already, the SMVAf said it complied and aligned with claims triaging, compliance with treatment and rehabilitation protocols. Additionally, the fund said it has the experience and expertise to address claims backlog and would assist extend the capability to clear the WCA backlog.

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