Senior staff at the State Government’s insurance agency were told that powerful Department of Premier and Cabinet boss Peter Conran “had an interest” in the “sensitive claim” relating to Troy Buswell’s wrecked ministerial Holden Caprice.
Large sections of the insurance claim form for Mr Buswell’s car were never filled out and the former treasurer did not sign the driver’s declaration because he was “not available”.
The documents reveals a repair quote of $12,916.84 for the Holden Caprice.
The 2011 Holden Barina that was hit was assessed as a repairable write-off with a quote of $3132.80.
The RiskCover claim form, released by the Opposition today after it was obtained under Freedom of Information, provides no details about Mr Buswell’s series of crashes in Subiaco into parked cars, a Telstra pole, and the front fence of his
The “inCident details” section of the form is almost entirely blank. The section that asks for a description of the events of the incident reads: “No details are available, the (redacted). The incident has been investigated by WAPOL.” (WA Police).
Sections left blank include who or what was considered to have cause the accident and why; the extent of damage to the vehicle; the speed of the vehicle prior to the incident and at the moment of impact; whether the vehicle was towed away; the name, address and personal details of the driver; and whether the driver was tested for drugs and alcohol or if the incident was reported to police.
The driver’s declaration is not signed by Mr Buswell, but by Kathryn Andrews, Director of State Administration.
The claim is authorised by Paul Zanotti, Fleet coordinator, on April 16 – nearly two months after Mr Buswell’s crash in the early hours of February 23 and six weeks after The West Australian revealed Mr Buswell’s erratic driving after hours of drinking at a Kings Park wedding.
Other documents obtained by Labor reveal that the Department of Premier and Cabinet contacted RiskCover about the “sensitive” claim.
In an email to RiskCover general manager Don Williams and Insurance Commission of WA CEO Rod Whithear sent on April 15, RiskCover specialist claims section manager Steven Bradford wrote: “DPC contacted me this afternoon advising that they would be lodging a claim with RiskCover.
“DPC have requested that we manage this sensitive claim and other third party damage claims. I was advised that (DPC boss) Peter Conran has an interest in the matter.
“Lew (Watts, ICWA’s deputy CEO) previously asked me to monitor for potential claims.
“To date we have received two third party enquiries but no claims lodged.
“I have not received the claim form as yet, however, I understand it will be completed by an authorised person at DPC not (Troy Buswell) as (he) is not available.”
The claim form was dated the following day. A week earlier, Premier Colin Barnett told the media Mr Buswell was back doing work in his electorate office two or three days a week.
RiskCover issued a statement this afternoon saying the DPC submitted a claim form "to commence the claim process".
"The claim form was incomplete as information about the circumstances leading to the vehicle damage were not known.
RiskCover subsequently sought to obtain those details and the Department provided a more complete claim form," the statement said.
"The Department asked RiskCover to keep them in the loop about the progress of its claim.
"RiskCover is managing the claim assessment process and will reach its conclusions independently in line with its responsibilities."
A spokeswoman for DPC said Mr Buswell provided further information to RiskCover on May 16 and May 30, but did not say what this information was.
"As head of the agency responsible for the Ministerial fleet, Peter Conran has an obvious responsibility for and interest in the matter," she said.
The Government has been contacted for comment.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Government had to explain what Mr Conran’s “interest” was and whether any pressure was placed on RiskCover to accepted a claim form lacking substantial information.
Mr Wyatt said the Premier had to explain why Mr Buswell did not complete and sign the form for himself, whether it was acceptable for other Government officers to complete the form and whether it was acceptable for RiskCover forms to be submitted with substantial information being missing.
If any other Western Australian motorist submitted such a claim form to their insurer, the company would have rejected it out of hand, the Opposition said.