Unnamed life insurer in ASIC review comes forward

The life insurer – which ASIC found to have a TPD claims denial rate of 37 per cent – has come forward, saying this figure is not what it seems.

In a statement, BT Financial Group chief executive Brad Cooper said the findings in ASIC's industry-wide life insurance report should be “treated with caution”.

He said the 37 per cent TPD claims denial rate that ASIC found in BT's life insurance business is not exact.

“In BTFG’s case, for example, the data includes some claims which were lodged by people who were not insured with us at the time of their injury or illness, and some claims by customers who were paid under other parts of their policy, such as income protection,” Mr Cooper said.

“If we took these things into consideration the number would be much lower. The facts are that BTFG declined 58 TPD claims in 2015. During the same period BTFG paid $255 million in life insurance claims to 2640 beneficiaries.”

The statement added that TPD insurance claims are only paid when a person is unable to work again for the rest of his or her life, and BT aims to help clients recover and resume employment.

Mr Cooper, however, agreed that the industry needs to improve the consistency of data so that consumers can make valid comparisons of products.

“Each insurer will have used their own definition of what constitutes a denied claim as part of ASIC’s review,” he said.

“We strongly support the need for standardised reporting to allow consumers to make meaningful comparisons.

“However, we are committed to ensuring that all our products meet the highest standards and we will have a further look at each of the 58 declined claims to ensure that our processes are robust and fair.”

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