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Notice Type
Authorities/Other Agencies of State
Notice Title

Report in Relation to Rates of Levies Prescribed in the Accident Compensation (Motor Vehicle Account Levies) Regulations 2017

Sections 331(5A) and 331(5B) of the Accident Compensation Act 2001 (“Act”) require the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to prepare a report in relation to the rates of levies prescribed in regulations in accordance with generally accepted practice within the insurance sector in New Zealand.

This report relates to the Motor Vehicle Account and its levies for the two years from 1 July 2017. It provides information about the expected long-term impacts of the 2017/19 levy rates for that Account and describes long-term projections of its finances along with key assumptions on which the projections are based. Appendix A provides more information about the projections and assumptions.1

The levy rate discussed in this report is shown in Figure 1.

Unless otherwise stated, all rates in this report are expressed exclusive of GST.

Figure 1: Prescribed levy rate for 2017/19 for the Motor Vehicle Account

Motor Vehicle Account

Average levy rate per vehicle


The Accident Compensation Scheme

ACC is a Crown agent providing comprehensive, no-fault personal injury cover to all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand.

ACC cover is managed under five separate Accounts, and ACC collects levies to fund three of these: the Motor Vehicle, Work and Earners’ Accounts.

The Motor Vehicle Account covers claims for all injuries that happen on public roads involving moving motor vehicles.

The average Motor Vehicle levy is the rate that all vehicle owners would pay if ACC charged a flat levy rate. The actual rate a vehicle owner pays differs from the average rate depending on their vehicle’s type.

For petrol-driven-vehicles, vehicle owners pay their levy through:

  • a levy collected as part of the motor vehicle licensing fee (or “registration”); and
  • a levy on the petrol they buy.

For non-petrol-driven vehicles, owners pay their entire levy through their registration. The levy component of the vehicle licence fee is higher for non-petrol-driven vehicles by an amount equivalent to the average petrol levy. The Regulations also prescribe a Motorcycle Safety Levy (MSL) payable in respect of motorcycles and mopeds. The Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council oversees the MSL fund, which is used to fund initiatives to improve the safety of motorcyclists.

The Levy-Setting Process

Motor Vehicle Account levies are set by regulation under the authority of sections 213, 244, 329 and 333 of the Act.

ACC reviews the expected costs of the levied Accounts to determine the levy rates required to meet the lifetime cost of claims in the upcoming period, along with funding adjustments to move each Account towards its funding target. The ACC Board (“Board”) undertakes public consultation before recommending levy rates to the Minister for ACC.2 Cabinet sets the levy rates for the forthcoming levy period after considering the Board’s recommendations, along with the public interest as required by section 300 of the Act.

Principles of Financial Responsibility in Relation to the Levied Accounts

Section 166A of the Act requires the cost of all claims under the levied Accounts to be fully funded. To achieve full funding when setting levies, section 166A requires the Minister for ACC to have regard to the following principles:

  • The levies derived for each levied Account should meet the lifetime costs of claims made during the levy year.
  • If an Account has a deficit or surplus of funds to meet the costs of claims incurred in past periods, that surplus or deficit is to be corrected by setting levies at an appropriate level for subsequent years.
  • Large changes in levies are to be avoided.

These principles provide guidance on how to balance the trade-off between funding stability and levy stability.

The Government’s Funding Policy

The funding policy issued by the Minister for ACC on 10 May 2016 (outlined below) specifies how ACC is to balance these principles when recommending levies for each levied Account. ACC must recommend levies for each levied Account consistent with the funding policy.

The funding policy requires that:

  • Levy rates must be based on the estimated lifetime costs of claims expected to occur during the levy period (new-year claim costs);
  • Accounts will aim to hold assets between 100% and 110% of the outstanding claims liability, with a midpoint funding ratio target of 105%;
  • a funding adjustment must be included that takes each Account’s funding position to the 105% target smoothly over a 10-year horizon; and
  • any increase to the levy rates for each Account must not exceed 15% (in addition to the Labour Cost Index (LCI) for the Motor Vehicle Account).

The funding policy is consistent with the principles in section 166A of the Act.

Variations in claims and economic experience are expected for a scheme such as ACC. The ten-year horizon allows for a gradual return of an Account’s funding ratio towards the target and is expected to result in relatively small on-going changes in levy rates. A shorter horizon would result in a more rapid return to the target funding ratio, but also larger changes in levy rates.

Levy rates are recommended and set every two years. The effect of this is to reset the funding horizon every two years. All other things being equal, this will mean that an Account’s funding ratio will approach the target, but never fully arrive at it. As the funding ratio approaches the target, funding adjustments will decrease and levy rates will more closely reflect new-year claim costs.

Another way to consider the funding policy is that it determines both how quickly the funding ratio approaches the funding target and the levy rate approaches new year claim costs. Any deviation from the funding policy changes the expected trajectory towards these targets.

In practice, experience will not exactly match what was assumed when recommending levy rates, and therefore levies are expected to vary around the best estimate forecasts shown in this report.

The Motor Vehicle Account levy rate recommended to the Minister by the Board for 2017/19, as well as those indicated for subsequent out-years, were consistent with the funding policy.

Assumptions underlying the projections for the Motor Vehicle Account

Projections in this report are based on the assumptions underlying the 2017/19 levy rate recommendations made by ACC, but with prescribed rather than recommended levy rates where these differ.

The 2017/19 levy rates consulted on and recommended by the Board to the Minister for ACC were determined based on the following:

  • Claims experience trends up to 31 March 2016. Increases in costs, compared to the previous consultation, have been driven by a higher than expected number of weekly compensation and medical claims, and claims remaining active longer than previously projected. These trends have been reflected by allowing for:
    • An increase in projected claim volumes, particularly for claims receiving weekly compensation which, in addition to population growth, are assumed to continue increasing at around 2% per annum over the next 3 years before flattening off. This assumed increase is lower than recent claims volume growth of around 6%.
    • A small increase in the projected duration of weekly compensation claims. The reflected increase is less than recent experience implies.
    • Superimposed inflation estimated at 2–5% for various types of medical treatment and social rehabilitation.
  • Estimates of future investment returns given current and expected future market conditions as at 31 March 2016.
  • Risk-free interest rates as implied by the New Zealand Government bond yield curve derived as at 30 April 2016. This is inconsistent with the timing of other economic assumptions, however this has no material impact on levy paths.

See Appendix B for an explanation of these terms.

Prescribed Motor Vehicle Account Levy Rates for the 2017/19 Levy Period (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2019)

Following public consultation, the Board recommended that the Government reduce the Motor Vehicle Account average levy by 13%, from $130.26 to $113.94 (excluding the MSL) for the 2017/19 levy period. Expected claims costs have increased, driven primarily by more claims receiving weekly compensation. This has been more than offset by changes in economic factors.

The recommended rates, as well as the indicative out-year levy rates in the Board’s consultation, were consistent with the funding policy. Cabinet agreed to the rates recommended by the Board, and the rates have now been prescribed in the Accident Compensation (Motor Vehicle Account Levies) Regulations 2017.

Levy rates have been set at a level below new-year claim costs to reduce the expected funding ratio from 112.7% to 112.5% by 31 March 2019. Indicative future levy rates, shown below, gradually move the Motor Vehicle Account’s funding ratio towards the funding target.

The petrol levy component of the levy rate has been reduced to 6.0 cents per litre for the 2017/19 levy period.

The MSL has been maintained at $25 for the 2017/19 levy period.

Figure 2: Long-term projected average Motor Vehicle Account levy rates and funding ratios allowing for levy rates prescribed in the Accident Compensation (Motor Vehicle Account Levies) Regulations 2017

Long-term projected average Motor Vehicle Account levy rates and funding ratios allowing for levy rates prescribed in the Accident Compensation (Motor Vehicle Account Levies) Regulations 2017

Changes since 31 March 2016

At 31 December 2016 the funding ratio was close to that forecast using 31 March 2016 assumptions. The actual and expected funding ratios are shown below in Figure 2.

Figure 3: Motor Vehicle Account—expected and actual funding ratios

Funding ratio (31 December 2016 as projected at 31 March 2016)

Actual funding ratio (31 December 2016)



The difference between the expected and actual funding ratios will have an immaterial impact on future levy requirements.


The average Motor Vehicle Account levy rate recommended by the Board to the Minister for ACC, and which was agreed to by Cabinet, is consistent with the funding policy.

HERWIG RAUBAL, bec, fnzsa, fiaa, Chief Risk and Actuarial Officer, Accident Compensation Corporation.


Appendix A: Motor Vehicle Account

Motor Vehicle Account Long-Term Projections

  Levy year end
Year ending 30 June Average levy rates ($ per vehicle excluding MSL*) Levy ($m) Lifetime cost of new-year claim costs ($m) Administration costs for new-year claim costs ($m) Levy required to fund lifetime cost of new-year claim costs ($ per vehicle) Levy required to fund administration costs ($ per vehicle) Accrued assets ($m) OCL** ($m) Account balances ($m)

Funding ratio

2016/17 130.26 447 451 52 131.41 15.27 10,721 9,514 1,207 113%
2017/18 113.94 395 470 55 135.50 15.96 10,971 9,731 1,241 113%
2018/19 113.94 400 491 59 139.77 16.91 11,215 9,968 1,247 113%
2019/20 127.34 453 511 62 143.83 17.41 11,511 10,246 1,265 112%
2020/21 127.34 458 532 65 147.96 18.05 11,809 10,559 1,251 112%
2021/22 140.62 512 555 67 152.51 18.46 12,160 10,906 1,254 112%
2022/23 140.62 518 579 70 157.13 18.89 12,518 11,287 1,230 111%
2023/24 154.23 575 604 72 162.06 19.34 12,928 11,696 1,232 111%
2024/25 154.23 582 631 75 167.32 19.79 13,349 12,140 1,208 110%
2025/26 168.49 643 660 77 172.92 20.18 13,821 12,616 1,204 110%
2026/27 168.49 651 690 80 178.69 20.61 14,294 13,120 1,174 109%
2027/28 183.58 718 722 83 184.59 21.13 14,839 13,650 1,189 109%
2028/29 183.58 726 755 85 190.87 21.56 15,383 14,202 1,181 108%

*Motorcycle Safety Levy

**Outstanding Claims Liability

The table above presents the projected levy and funding path after applying the funding policy. The table below summarises the key assumptions underlying these projections.


Motor Vehicle Account Key Assumptions

Year ending 30 June Claim numbers (entitlement claims) Entitlement claim frequency (claims per 1,000 vehicles) Exposure (number of vehicles) (000) Investment return forecasts (June year) Risk-free interest rates (June year) Standard inflation (LCI*)
2016/17 5,816 1.70 3,429 4.1% 2.0% 1.8%
2017/18 6,015 1.73 3,470 4.3% 1.9% 1.8%
2018/19 6,096 1.74 3,512 4.4% 2.3% 1.8%
2019/20 6,169 1.74 3,554 4.5% 2.6% 1.8%
2020/21 6,243 1.74 3,596 4.6% 3.0% 1.8%
2021/22 6,318 1.74 3,639 4.8% 3.3% 1.8%
2022/23 6,394 1.74 3,683 4.9% 3.5% 1.8%
2023/24 6,471 1.74 3,727 5.0% 3.7% 1.8%
2024/25 6,548 1.74 3,772 5.1% 3.8% 1.8%
2025/26 6,627 1.74 3,817 5.1% 3.9% 1.8%
2026/27 6,706 1.74 3,863 5.2% 4.0% 1.8%
2027/28 6,787 1.74 3,909 5.3% 4.1% 1.8%
2028/29 6,868 1.74 3,956 5.3% 4.1% 1.8%

* Labour Cost Index

The following table compares the components of the 2017/19 prescribed average levy rate with those of the 2016/17 rate. The first column shows the components of the 2016/17 prescribed levy rate derived for the 2016/17 levy consultation. The second column shows how the estimates of new-year claim costs and administration costs for the same year differ when calculated using the revised assumptions used for the 2017/19 levy period. The third column then shows how these costs have changed for the new levy period.

Trend in Underlying Costs
Average levy per motor vehicle
Initial 2016/17 (last year's assessment) Current 2016/17
(this year's assessment)
Prescribed 2017/19 levy rate
To fund the cost of new claims during the new levy year $132.88 $131.41 $137.64
To fund administration costs $17.07 $15.27 $16.44
Funding adjustment -$19.69   -$40.14
Average Motor Vehicle levy rate $130.26   $113.94

The estimate of claim costs for 2016/17 has decreased slightly. 2017/19 claim costs are projected to increase compared with the 2016/17 estimate because of medical and rehabilitation cost inflation above the Labour Cost Index (LCI). Additionally, projections for claim durations have been increased to reflect recent trends in rehabilitation performance.

Appendix B: Explanatory Notes

Funding Adjustment

This is the adjustment to levy rates which is used to move the funding ratio of an Account towards the funding target. The impact of funding adjustments is that levy rates will be higher or lower than the level needed to fund the cost of new-year claim costs (including administration costs).

Funding Ratio

The funding ratio is the ratio of each Account’s assets to liabilities. It is a measure of whether the Accounts have sufficient assets to meet the outstanding claims liability. Solvency is another term for funding ratio.

Funding Target

ACC’s funding target is a funding ratio of 105%. This is the midpoint of the funding band of 100% to 110%.

Investment Returns

The expected returns are based on current strategic asset allocations and are consistent with ACC’s long-term expected returns for the various asset classes that make up the total investment reserves. They allow for ACC’s tax status.

Labour Cost Index

The Labour Cost Index (LCI) measures changes in salary and wage rates for a fixed quantity and quality of labour input.

New-Year Claim Costs

Claims that occur during a new levy year. New-year claim costs are the net present value of the estimated lifetime cost of those claims.

Outstanding Claims Liability

The Outstanding Claims Liability (OCL) is an actuarial estimate of net present value of all future costs for accidents that have already happened including an allowance for claims incurred but not reported, and re-opened claims.

Risk-free Interest Rates

The risk-free interest rate is the theoretical rate of return of an investment with zero risk. It represents the nominal return an investor would expect from an absolutely risk-free investment over a given period of time.


1. Additional information can be found in the Motor Vehicle Account Pricing Report for Consultation, which is available on request from ACC.

2. ACC’s levy consultation website is Consultation relating to the levy period took place between 21 September and 19 October 2016.