CommInsure to overhaul insurance offering

In the wake of media reports about mishandling in its claims process, CommInsure has made a raft of changes to its insurance offering, but denies that it was unresponsive to concerns raised within the company.

In a statement, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it has announced that the Board of The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited (CommInsure Board) has approved a range of measures to upgrade its product offering.

CBA chief executive Ian Narev said he remains concerned about the customers who were the subject of recent media reports, and welcomed the actions being taken by CommInsure in response to the issues raised.

A Four Corners and Fairfax Media investigation aired allegations by former CommInsure chief medical officer Dr Benjamin Koh, as well as four case studies of policyholders who claim they have been poorly treated by the insurer, with Mr Narev subsequently apologising for the incidents.

However, CBA also said that "assertions made in the media that CommInsure was not responsive to internal concerns raised are incorrect".

"The CommInsure Board commissioned an independent review and other enquiries were made. CommInsure has taken a range of actions, including benchmarking of product features, targeted review of customer claims, governance changes to enhance structural independence and additional training for claims staff, including customer empathy and professional protocols," the statement said.

As part of a raft of changes, CommInsure says it will upgrade its "heart attack" and "severe rheumatoid arthritis" definitions in its Trauma product.

"This upgrade will be released in a product disclosure statement by the end of March but coverage will be backdated and apply for all claim events from May 2014 onwards. May 2014 was the date of the last relevant product disclosure statement for the Trauma product," the statement said.

"CommInsure has also committed to a more regular review of the life insurance offering to ensure definitions reflect evolving medical standards and practices."

In addition, CommInsure will institute a layer of independence to improve its claims process.

"Where CommInsure's claims committee recommends a complex claim be declined, it will be referred to an Independent Review Panel. The Panel will consist of the managing director of CommInsure [Helen Troup] and at least two independent industry experts, who will be announced within the next month. A sub-committee of the CommInsure Board will monitor the outcomes of the Panel," the statement said.

CommInsure will also be reviewing ongoing claims and concerns and appoint an independent expert to oversee a claim review program focused on declined claims, with particular emphasis on customer advocacy.

The CBA subsidiary said ethical concerns that have been aired in recent media reports will be "independently investigated".

The chairman of the CommInsure Board, Geoff Austin, said he apologised on behalf of CommInsure to the affected customers. Mr Austin said the CommInsure Board has met and reviewed current initiatives and agreed to immediately take additional steps to reassure customers of CommInsure's values and its commitment to them.

"We remain absolutely focused on our customers," Mr Austin said. "The concerns raised in the recent cases reported are not a reflection of the values of our people or our business.

"We expect the highest ethical standards of all our employees and will continue to ensure that the policies and processes within the business support these standards."

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0 #13 Max Power 2016-04-09 17:39
The first thing CBA should do get a decent spin doctor, stop throwing people under the bus , sack some heads, Nerav comes to mind and troupe does too. Sorry these fixes being offered are not going to change a cultural that is unethical
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+1 #12 Dylan Martin 2016-03-11 13:46
Here we are again.. CBA group putting our profession into disripute.. again. Nothing has changed, toxic profit culture was the same when I worked for them briefly in 2007 and in the 90's when they'd feature heavily for bullying and forceful tacticts. I'm reviewing all our comminsure policies (all 7 of them thank god) as we speak. We the advisers will suffer because of another shameful blow to public trust and perception.

Dylan Martin
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+4 #11 Reality 2016-03-11 11:50
Simply put... CBA isn't sorry for their actions... They are sorry they got caught.

Again.
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+1 #10 jeff morris 2016-03-11 11:15
A CBA "shake up" or "overhaul" for public consumption is like Hamlet without the Prince - CommInsure Board and Management continue on their merry way, no one is held to account for what happened on their watch - Mr Nobody takes the blame, "independent" experts are carefully briefed and remunerated by CBA to produce a report in the indefinite future, lots of CBA spin "acknowledging" but completely misstating and downplaying what actually occurred, lots of public hand wringing and "it's not really like that here" rhetoric, while the behind the scenes reality of resentment and persecution of whistleblowers gives the lie to the public contrition.
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+3 #9 OTF 2016-03-11 10:56
The questions are:
- the board was aware of the issue and still the whistle blower got sacked (he ought to have been cut some slack regarding the issue of sending files to his private email)? This does not make sense.

- Most of the issues related to insurance in super with industry funds. This issue needs to be given more publicity. Most people think their super has insurance and they will be okay. They do not understand what this insurance actually covers them for. They are happy that the insurance is "cheap". Then when the terms of the policy are pathetic, they complain. They either need to read and understand the policy themselves or get advice. Not all insurance policies are the same.
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+2 #8 Melinda Houghton 2016-03-11 10:46
Too little too late again CBA.
The damage is done, and it will take years to correct, AGAIN.
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0 #7 Craig 2016-03-11 10:39
The question of course is why the executives concerned did nothing about this at the time? Did they think they would keep getting away with it? It's appalling how many companies hide their heads in the sand and only act when an incident like this happens.

I think there's a word for this - greed.
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0 #6 jeff morris 2016-03-10 17:10
That's incredible!
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+6 #5 Steve 2016-03-10 16:41
Funny how the board members who over saw all this unethical behaviour are instigating the fix. I would have thought that the first thing CBA would do if it was serious which clearly it's not would have been to sack all the unethical board members. This will just be another drawn out public relations show form CBA while behind the scenes nothing will change. Yawn. Nothing to see here. Everything is ok.
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+5 #4 Phil Thompson 2016-03-10 14:29
Did the chairman of the board is trying to push this down to an issue with 'unethical employees' or am i just being too cynical?
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+7 #3 Warren 2016-03-10 14:12
How can an organisation "continue" to ensure high ethical standards when it has not practiced such? You cant continue something that you have not done previously. Enough with the platitudes, how about some action for the disaffected staff and customers. Accept responsibility, right the wrongs and change the culture. Deliver what is on the tin to the people who buy it.
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+6 #2 Ian Blieschke 2016-03-10 14:04
If the AFA & FPA were supporting there risk writing members, why haven't they come out slamming the industry funds for taking commission/indu cements from Comminsure to have their group product as the preferred insurer for their members? Didn't they conduct due diligence to ensure they acted in the best interest of members come claims time? Just as though they were an uneducated, commission earning risk writing professional who assist clients at claims time!
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0 #1 old risk tool 2016-03-10 13:58
comm insure ticket no 1 john kessel claim approved 975K eft 11/03/2015 next....
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