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Incorrect premiums and denial of claims top life insurance complaints

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has confirmed it received 1,623 complaints about life insurance in the 2020–21 financial year.

Life insurance accounted for 2 per cent of the 70,510 complaints received in total, consistent with the proportion recorded in both 2018–19 and 201920.

213 complaints received during that period dealt with incorrect premiums, which AFCA said were often related to the rate at which stepped premiums increase over time.

“These complaints are often exacerbated by financial firms not clearly explaining how stepped premium curves will affect future premium rates,” AFCA said as part of its annual review.

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“AFCA encourages firms to provide clear and effective premium rate tables, or premium projections, to consumers at the point of sale or during renewal periods to help reduce the number of premium disputes.”

Meanwhile, 212 complaints related to denial of claims, 172 related to delay in claim handling, 141 in regard to service quality and 109 about misleading product/service information.

Income protection policies were the subject of 575 complaints, ahead of the number of complaints received about term life (290), total and permanent disability (184), funeral plans (169) and trauma (115) products.

“AFCA continues to receive many complaints about the calculation of income protection benefits, especially for business owners and the self-employed,” AFCA said, adding that it also acknowledged “the difficulties presented by complainants’ corporate and trust structures, and the complexities of business accounting”.

1,595 complaints were closed during 202021 and it took an average of 128 days to close a complaint.

AFCA has also revealed that a “significant number” of complaints were put on hold due to delays with the government’s CSLR legislation.

Incorrect premiums and denial of claims top life insurance complaints
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Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg

Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.

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