Important Messages For Trainers and/or Drivers

A few years ago HRNSW issued some documents outlining the extent of cover that protects industry participants under the personal accident policy. From the time that guide was produced in 2008 there have been numerous enhancements to the Personal Accident policy and the cover provided.

As a result of some misunderstandings and the more recent changed circumstances in the ACT we have decided to provide another update. This guide will explain the differences between Personal Accident insurance, the cover provided by Workers Compensation insurance in New South Wales and Private Health insurance.

The cover provided under the Personal Accident policy is not “comprehensive” and as such HRNSW encourages all participants to take out Private Health, Life and Income Protection Insurance according to their own individual needs and circumstances.

This guide is in no way intended to be an exhaustive or thoroughly comprehensive guide and accordingly HRNSW strongly suggests that each participant seek their own independent advice.

Workers Compensation

All drivers are covered by Workers Compensation insurance whilst driving in a race in NSW.

The relevant section of the Act states:
A person who:

  1. Is engaged to ride a horse for fee or reward at a meeting for horse racing conducted by a racing club or association at which betting is allowed;
  2. Drives a horse at a meeting for harness racing conducted or held by a racing club or association at which betting is allowed; 
  3. Is engaged in riding work in connection with horse racing (but not harness racing) on the racecourse or other premises of a racing club or association;
  4. Is, for the purposes of the Act, taken to be a worker employed by the racing club or association.

Therefore, the driver is deemed an employee of the club conducting the race meeting.
Essentially, the workers compensation policy covers a driver from the time they get onto a gig for a race until they get off the gig at the conclusion of a race.
Each harness racing race club pays a premium per driver per race.

The cover provided by Workers Compensation extensive compared to the cover provided by the personal accident insurance policy.
If a driver is injured the benefits are fairly extensive and each driver’s injury is case managed until they are able to return to driving or undertake alternative work.

Group Personal Accident

In general terms the HRNSW Group Personal Accident policy covers participants for injuries sustained through harness activities that are not covered by workers compensation insurance. For drivers, the policy would cover them for harness activities other than in a race conducted in NSW. For example where a driver competes in a race in a state where no workers compensation is available eg VIC and TAS, the Group Personal Accident policy will provide cover for the drivers in those states.

NSW Based drivers should note that the Canberra Harness Racing Club has a separate Personal Accident Policy for drivers who compete in races in the ACT.

However drivers and industry participants should be aware that cover is not extensive and, more importantly, only covers participants for a maximum term of two (2) years. It is not like private health insurance where you can choose your own doctor and cover may last for longer periods (depending on provider).

The Group Personal Accident policy provides capital benefits (death, permanent disablement), weekly benefits and other allowances that are outlined in the attached.
The policy provides for non-Medicare medical expenses only. Non-Medicare medical costs include Private hospital costs, physiotherapy and other expenses that are not claimable through Medicare.

General Insurers in Australia are prohibited from making payment on any expenses for which a Medicare benefit is paid or is payable including the balance of monies due or payable by you after the deduction of any Medicare benefit or rebate from the actual expense incurred. This is commonly referred to as the “Medicare Gap”, (refer section 67 of the National Health Act 1953 as amended).

Optional Individual Top Up Personal Accident Insurance

If drivers believe that they require more extensive personal accident coverage, optional individual ‘top up’ covers are available.
Top up cover could include higher capital benefits (for death) and / or higher weekly salary benefits or both.
Such options have been offered in the past however the take up has been minimal.

Private Health Insurance

Drivers can purchase private health insurance to cover some or all of the costs of healthcare as a private patient.
There are two types of private health insurance cover available, hospital cover and general treatment cover (ancillary or extras cover).

Hospital cover pays for some or all of the costs of hospital treatment as a private patient, including doctors’ fees and hospital accommodation. It applies when you are a private patient in a public or private hospital (or a day hospital facility).

General treatment cover helps with the cost of services such as physiotherapy, dental and optical treatment. Some private health insurers’ offer packaged products that cover both hospital and general treatment services.

Generally, the more extensive the private health insurance the greater the premium cost. When choosing your private health insurance it is important to make sure it suits your healthcare needs and budget. Private health insurers should provide you with the information to make an informed choice about the level cover that is appropriate for you.

Life Insurance (Optional Individual Policy)

Income Protection insurance provides a monthly benefit up to 75% of your income should you be unable to work due to illness, injury or accident. It pays you up until you return to work, or if you can’t return up until retirement age.

Income protection is generally tax deductible and provides coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, worldwide.

Interstate and Overseas Drives

As stated previously, if you drive in another state or Territory, unless that state has workers compensation insurance you will be covered by the HRNSW Group Personal Accident Policy except drivers competing in the ACT which has a separate Personal Accident policy covering drivers competing in that state.

States and Territories such as the VIC and Tasmania do not have workers compensation cover and therefore drivers should be aware of the limitations provided by the Personal Accident policy before they drive in such states or territories.