For the whole 15 years or so that my building company had been in operation, we’d had our compensation insurance for workers, (which, of course, was compulsory,) with the AMP Society.
There were, of course, two types of this insurance – insurance for workers on payrolls and insurance for subcontractors, with the premiums for workers being many times those for subcontractors, for this reason.
For subcontractors to claim compensation, they had to prove that whoever they’d been working for had been negligent, whereas workers on payrolls didn’t have to do this – their injuries may, in fact, have been their fault, but they could still claim compensation.
Over the years there had always been scales of premiums for different types of workers, which were a percentage of their wages/salaries, so working out the amount of the premiums was straight forward and easy. But working out the premiums for subcontractors wasn’t straight forward and easy – the AMP’s agent always used to say that this was a “grey area” but if we gave them so much they’d be happy.
But, in about 1982, within 6 weeks, 2 subcontractors went to court and their claims for compensation, even though we hadn’t been negligent in any way, were successful – it was a complete change in the law!!! (Which, incidentally, has lead to a complete change in the system.)
This lead to the AMP claiming that we had been underpaying them during the whole 15 years, which, of course, was nonsense, because if we’d been paying the rates for workers on payrolls on the money we’d been paying to subcontractors, we wouldn’t have ever made made a profit, ever. But this didn’t stop the greedy bastards at the AMP from claiming that we owed the millions dollars – in other words, something I hadn’t realised so clearly at time, they reserved the right to increase the amount they accepted in past years as the correct, when the circumstance had changed. Perhaps if I’d realised this, at the time, something could have been done about it. But, as I say, it lead to me losing everything.
IN the face of these circumstances, someone once advised me that you should always change you’re insurance companies every 2 or 3 years, because, at least, if you do this, you are only arguing about premiums for 2 or 3 years, not for 15 years as happened in my case.
I has recently occurred to me that this is a suggestion I should pass on to you guys.