The life industry should collaborate with APRA to establish an industry-funded claims register to increase transparency and accountability, says AIA Australia.
In its submission to the life insurance inquiry, AIA Australia said it supports the establishment of a centralised Independent Claims Assistance Service to assist members with enquiries about claims processes, lodging claims and claims decisions.
It further added that such a service would be particularly useful for those insured through direct channels, noting that “they do not have the advocacy services provided by superannuation trustees, or financial advisers, to assist them in the same manner as the other channels”.
“We recognise claims are made during stressful and difficult times in peoples’ lives and many find the process complex and overwhelming,” the submission said.
“Many individuals seek assistance from third parties at claim time to alleviate this stress.”
AIA Australia said that it, and the broader industry, has noticed its members are increasingly turning to legal representation at the initial stages of lodging a claim.
It said most claims are resolved without legal representation, with only 13 per cent of all claimants being legally represented, and with total and permanent disability claimants represented in 36 per cent of cases.
“We want to do more to help individuals during the claims process to ensure they can have the full support of their entire benefit payment, rather than needlessly sharing a significant proportion of it on legal representation,” the submission said.
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