In 2012, all 39 members (General Insurance companies) of the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) signed an undertaking for all Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) and common law claims occurring at project sites to be covered under the respective project WICI instead of the employer’s annual policy.
Cancellation of Market Agreement:
Effective 1 Jan 2017, the market agreement for all WICA and common law claims occurring at project sites to be paid under Project WICI will be cancelled in respect of accidents occurring on or after 1st January 17.
There were 2 main reasons which lead to the cancellation of this undertaking:
- On average, only 1 out of every 10 project site accidents manage to identify the project insurers. As such, most claims were paid from the employer’s annual WICI.
- WICI provides coverage in accordance with the WICA. Section 25E of the WICA states clearly that where there are multiple WICI policies, the employer’s insurance policy shall be the first to be used to pay compensation. The rationale being the ease of pinpointing the employer’s insurer as the information may already be in MOM’s system then to try to find the project insurer which is a cumbersome process.
- Most project site claims of sub-contractors will fall under their annual policies instead of the project WICI. Thus, premiums on annual WICI are expected to rise to reflect this reality.
- Increased arbitration and litigation among insurers to determine whose policies should respond to claims. This will also further put pressure on insurance premiums.
What should employers be aware of?
Employers should review their annual WICI to ensure that estimated annual wages (basic salaries, overtime, commissions, bonuses, allowances, etc) are fully declared and all employees (i.e. in payroll) are insured.
The terms, conditions and exclusions of the WICI (e.g. No cover for contracts exceeding certain contract value, height restriction, etc) should also be examined to ensure it meets the operational requirements.