ABC Online’sstandard picture of John Howard.

It seems whenever John Howard makes the news, the ABC Online people pull out the same photo of him from the archives to use… one which leaves him looking just slightly crazed. It was on their home page last night, and I saw it once or twice last week, too.

Doug’s blog entry "Life Admin Day" a few days ago got me thinking. I too could use some time to just get myself organised. My principle failing in this department is that I never seem to have my workers compensation insurance (akaWorkCover) dealt with to the satisfaction of my insurer. That may be because I can never quite come to fully accept that I need it. Oh sure, it’s a legal requirement for someone such as me who is a contractor. But really, my work is consulting and programming computer systems. What’s going to happen to me? Is a server rack going to collapse on top of me? Am I going to get strangled by an errant LAN cable? Not bloody likely.

But then, that’s what insurance is all about – paying in advance in small instalments for the consequences of things that may never happen.

It’s all so damn complicated. It’s based on remuneration (a fancy word for wages plus super plus everything else), so rather than just send you one invoice every year, they send you a form to estimate your remuneration and pay a premium based on that estimate, then a form at the end of the year to confirm your remuneration, then an invoice to adjust the premium up or down depending on what the final result was, and by this time there’s another form for estimating the next year’s figures. Add to this another letter every time they fiddle with the terms and conditions, and another one every few months trumpeting some safety initiative and including a poster to stick up in the workplace. Ha, yeah right. Or else you can get fined. Okay then, up it goes on my noticeboard, so when that server rack does fall on me out at a client site and I’m lying in need of first aid, I can tell whoever’s nearby that they just need to go over to my office and check on the noticeboard, then they’ll know how to resuscitate me.

Anyway, all this adds up to a good few letters coming through the mail from this mob, I can tell you. More if, like me, it all gets too much and you stick them unopened in the in-tray for extended periods of time. I bet that pisses them off. You can sense it in the reminder letters that arrive when I’m overdue in filling out one of their damn forms. Right now, I swear, there are five waiting for me. I suppose at some stage I should read them and find out what they want of me.

One letter a year, with a bill attached. That would satisfy me. Then I might get it all paid on time. As it is it makes me think that the workplace accident most likely to befall me is drowning under letters from the insurance people.

And don’t get me started on the dozens of other things on my "to do" list.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.