Current legislation prohibiting life insurers from funding clients’ medical expenses and early rehabilitation is a disadvantage to the community, according to life insurer AIA.
In a statement, AIA chief executive Damien Mu noted that under current regulation insurers are permitted to provide payments for occupational rehabilitation rather than medical existence.
“We at AIA Australia are dedicated to helping to lead reform and improvements to many facets of the insurance industry. Our aim is to benefit consumers and the community. Most importantly, we want to help people to live longer, healthier, happier lives,” he said.
“For successful rehabilitation, we recommend supporting programs that seek to return people to productive work as soon as possible, which research shows improves their mental health and overall wellbeing.”
The company added that such reforms had also been supported by the Financial Services Council in their submission to the parliamentary joint committee on corporations and financial services inquiry into the life insurance industry.
In her speech to the joint committee, FSC chief executive Sally Loane said helping staff return to work earlier improves outcomes for all involved.
“If a person is off work for 70 days, their probability of returning to work reduces to 35 per cent. This is highly unsatisfactory and needs to change,” she said.
“The FSC continues to advocate for legislative and regulatory restrictions to be removed to allow life insurers to provide greater support for those on claim. From a recent survey of our members, we believe that up to 12,000 consumers could be helped every year if these restrictions were removed.”
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