Complexity injecting lawyers into super insurance claims

Insurers and superannuation funds need to reduce the paperwork and simplify the claims process around insurance inside superannuation.

A panel of experts has told the Association of Superannuation Funds of Austalia (ASFA) conference on the Gold Coast that simplification of the processes represented a key to restoring the reputation of the industry in th eyes of consumers, especially in the face of recent adverse publicity around claims handling.

Specialist lawyer, John Berrill explained the increasing use of law firms in superannuation insurance claims by referring to the scale of paper work confronting members making claims and the lack of uniformity in those forms across both insurers and superannuation funds.

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"When you receive a 20 page pile of documents relating to an insurance claim it represents a daunting prospect and people seek out those who they believe can help them with that.

Earlier, Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) chairperson, Helen Davis, pointed to the fact that 35 per cent of all matters dealt with by the Tribunal related to insurance claims.

She agreed with Berrill about the complexity of the paperwork and suggested it was within the scope of superannuation trustees to examine the member experience and address it.

"In terms of simplifying the process there is nothing today stopping trustees looking at the situation and asking ‘what is the consumer process'," Davis said.

"You don't have to wait on a whole of industry approach."

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Lets get real here, people need to stop talking this up from the lawyers billable hours perspective, filling out the claim forms is not hard. Its when the claims are declined on a unfair basis and further action needs to be taken that the lawyers need to be involved, its a waste of money for clients getting them involved sooner. Try filling out the aged pension forms now that's a novel compared to these claim forms!

I agree with you TJ. However, it is also about the definitions of the product. If it is group insurance, inside or outside of superannuation, expect the degree of difficulty to rise. If it is retail, advised insurance, expect an efficient process and a successful claim.

It's not hard when you know what the Insurer is are looking / asking for (as all advisers with risk training would). For the average Joe Blow it remains daunting. Knowing that mis-explaining your situation can end up with real delays or a decline. Especially the case with TPD claims. Unfortunately, there is some truth in the perception that claims assessment is not a wholly objective process.

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