ACC snow claims domestic

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Only a fifth of claims for injuries on Queenstown’s ski slopes in 2018 were from tourists, according to ACC records.

Some 5425 claims have been made to the national no-fault accident insurance scheme provider from the resort this year so far.

People who identified themselves as living overseas accounted for just 1108.

ACC media boss Paul Funnell says the stats do need to be taken with a pinch of salt, however. They’re not definitive.

“As a no-faults scheme, we are reliant on the information provided on the accident claim form by people when they are injured, and not everyone may identify themselves as living overseas when they lodge a claim.”

According to the stats, tourists represent only 6.7 per cent of ACC’s Queenstown costs – $223,519 compared to $3,094,035 year to date by those living in New Zealand.

That’s mostly because ACC covers 80 per cent of the NZ income of people off work as a result of an injury.

So, that figure will rise significantly to an annual total by the end of the year.

It’s already the highest number of claims and most expensive overall over the five years of figures provided.

In that time, ACC has paid out more than $46 million for more than 43,000 claims from people who hit the South Island ski slopes. More than 55,000 claims were made nationally since 2014.

Queenstown Lakes district is home to five skifields, off-piste runs, heliskiing trips and backcountry ski touring.

NZSki boss Paul Anderson says more than half a million people took to the slopes at the company’s Queenstown skifields, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, this season.

“We track all injuries on the mountain – the rate getting treated in our medical rooms is about two per 1000 skiers and snowboarders,” he tells the Otago Daily Times recently.

There are massive safety programmes on each mountain. Measures included trail modification, padding various hazards and high-quality, well-maintained rental gear and other equipment.

“There’s a huge commitment for us to make sure our guest experience is as high-quality and as risk-free as possible, but we can’t ignore the fact that skiing and snowboarding is a controlled fall and sometimes there are accidents.”

NZSki contracts private firm Medical Rescue for on-mountain treatments.

St John responded to 230 skifield-related callouts in the Queenstown response area, compared to 171 in 2017.

The ACC figures don’t cover the cost of emergency treatment at hospitals. It’s bulk-funded under Public Health Acute Services.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz