Published 08 May 2018
Author: Garbis Kolokossian
Roughly 285,000 motor vehicles are registered in the Capital Territory annually according to ACT Government's CTP Scheme. Motorists pay for Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance as part of their motor vehicle registration in case of vehicle collision, but calls to change the scheme have been increasing in recent years. In order to best suit the needs of road users and to control the rising costs of insurer's premiums, a citizens' jury was set up to discuss ways to improve our CTP scheme.
What is a citizens' jury?
A citizens' jury is a form of deliberative democracy which advocates greater engagement and discussion from ordinary people over potential law changes. This process is used to get direct and non politically-motivated feedback from the people whom the law under consideration will govern.
Who was on the panel and when did they meet?
The panel was made up of a randomly selected cross-section of normal Canberrans, roughly corresponding to the Territory's demographics and road usership. After a lengthy feedback process, which included 725 survey responses, the 50-strong jury met over four days in October 2017 to discuss possible improvements to Canberra's current CTP scheme.
What was on the agenda?
During discussions, the citizens' jury heard evidence from past CTP claimants and people injured in motor vehicle accidents in the ACT, as well as testimonies and research from medical, legal and insurance experts. The panel were asked the find the right balance between injured people and motor vehicle owners' interests, with these trade-offs in mind:
How did the discussions proceed?
The jury then handed their initial scheme objectives over to the Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG). This group included insurers, lawyers, a healthcare consumer representative and ACT Government representatives, as well as an insurance scheme designer and actuary.
With this report, the designer, working with the SRG, developed four alternative CTP models in line with the jury's priorities. These models were also costed by the actuary to determine the different impacts on the premiums drivers already have to pay.
The jury then reconvened last month to discuss these four models and select their favourite.
What were outcomes?
Last month, the citizens' jury voted on their preferred insurance scheme. Under the new plan, all Canberrans will have access to CTP cover, regardless of whether they were at fault. All people injured in car accidents will have access to a set of defined benefits, while serious injuries caused by another driver's negligence will be covered by a higher level of insurance.
For more information on motor vehicle accident compensation, contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation Lawyers for a free consultation.