What are self-insurers?


What are self insurers for Workers Compensation_

For most people working in Queensland, workers compensation is covered by the default government insurer, WorkCover Queensland. However, a number of large employers including supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have opted out of the default scheme and are known as self insurers.

In simple terms, a 'self-insured' employer decides to handle the financial aspects of workers' compensation on their own. Rather than having WorkCover Queensland handle these matters, self-insurers take it upon themselves. This means that if you are injured or become ill at work, your employer is in charge of managing and funding your claim, not an external body like WorkCover Queensland.

Companies that choose to self-insure have to adhere to certain requirements dictated by each jurisdiction's laws, especially the amount of benefits payable to workers who sustain injuries. However, self-insurance provides these companies with financial autonomy, enabling them to fund and manage their own workers’ compensation liabilities.

Typically these 'self-insured' policies will be backed by a major insurance company or some of the largest employers have their own insurance divisions.

If you've been injured at work then you may be entitled to compensation. Check your legal rights to compensation with a free initial case review. We provide all claims on a risk-free basis with no upfront costs.

Differences Between Self-Insurers and WorkCover Queensland

  • Management of claims: Self-insurers are responsible for managing their own workers compensation claims. While WorkCover Queensland handles claims for employers within their scheme, the self-insurer must have the resources to efficiently manage claims internally.
  • Financial responsibility: Unlike companies under WorkCover Queensland where the financial burden of a claim is covered by the scheme (paid via employer premiums), self-insurers bear the financial risk. They are liable for the compensation payout and any related expenses if a claim is successful.
  • Compliance regulations: Self-insurers are still subject to the same legislative requirements as WorkCover Queensland. However, they are also required to meet certain self-insurance licensing criteria that enforce additional financial and governance responsibilities.
  • Return to work programs: While both self-insurers and WorkCover Queensland must have return to work programs, self-insurers often have access to more direct involvement in the rehabilitation process of their workers due to their intimate handling of the claim.

How to Start a Claim with a Self-Insurer

  • 1. Identify Your Employer's Insurance: Determine whether your employer is a self-insurer. This information is often available in HR materials, the company intranet, or by asking your manager or HR representative.
  • 2. Report the Incident: If you've been injured at work, promptly report the incident to your supervisor or manager. Document the details of the incident as accurately as possible.
  • 3. Seek Medical Attention: Obtain any immediate medical treatment required. Follow your doctor's advice and ensure all visits, treatments, and prescriptions are well-documented.
  • 4. Complete an Incident Report: Your workplace should provide you with an incident report to fill out. Be as detailed as possible about the injury and circumstances around the incident.
  • 5. Initiate a Claim: Contact your employer's claims department to initiate a claim. You may have to fill in additional forms and provide supporting documents, such as medical reports. Make sure to submit your claim quickly after the injury incident.
  • 6. Follow Up: Regularly follow up on your claim's status with your employer's claims department. Make sure you provide any additional documents requested promptly, to prevent your claim from being delayed.

Examples of Large Employers with Self-Insurance

A number of large organisations in Queensland self-insure their workers compensation including;

  • Woolworths Ltd (Includes Woolworths supermarkets, Big W, BWS, Dan Murphy's)
  • Brisbane City, City of Gold Coast, Redlands and Townsville councils
  • Coles Group
  • Qantas Airways
  • Wesfarmers (Includes Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Officeworks)
  • Westpac Banking Corporation
  • Queensland Rail
  • University of Queensland

Last updated:
February 22, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.

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