3 Jul 2019

New ACC mediation service aims to settle disputes faster

11:25 am on 3 July 2019

An independent service is being launched to help resolve disputes with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), in the hope of speeding up the process and minimising the need for reviews or court hearings.

ACC Building

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Meet Resolve service will provide independent experts to act as mediators between ACC and claimants.

Director Warren Forster said the aim was to get things sorted out early by sitting around the table at the beginning.

"We're going to start off with hundreds of cases but we can expand to thousands pretty quickly.

"The question will be whether people want this."

People would be bound by a resolution they reached, but if they didn't reach agreement they could continue through the review process.

"No resolution will be forced upon anyone," Mr Foster said. "But what we often find is through the litigation process we end up having a dispute about something that doesn't actually get what the person wants. So we might have a dispute about cover that lasts for a year but then we go back and sort out entitlements.

"People have houses, they have mortgages they have rent they've got kids - all of these are things that mean we really should when we can fix the problem at the get go.

"[We're trying to] transform the way people experience those disputes with ACC."

Mr Foster said the claimant would not for the service. Funding came from ACC, through a contract.

Previous research had said there should be a commissioner and it should be separate from ACC, he said, but the corporation and the government decided to go with a contractor relationship.

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