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Group cover code must have teeth, lawyers warn

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Maurice Blackburn Lawyers says a code of practice for insurance provided within superannuation must be binding and enforceable from the start to be effective in driving higher standards.

Principal Josh Mennen says any concerns that mean the code – developed by the Insurance in Superannuation Working Group (ISWG) – may not be enforceable due to conflicts for trustees should be resolved.

“The ISWG process must ensure any final code from the get-go has teeth, or it risks having all the bite of a month-old lettuce,” he said. “It must be enforceable with regulatory oversight and binding.”

Mr Mennen says the draft document states laws and regulations will prevail where there is any inconsistency with the code, which should avert the potential for conflict.

Concerns over proposed caps on premiums could also be addressed within making the whole code non-mandatory for trustees, he says.

The working group has been assessing submissions after releasing the draft in September.

It aims to have a final version ready by the end of the year, before implementation on July 1. There will be a transition period until June 30 2019.

“To the extent that the concerns raised in submissions have merit, they can and should be resolved to ensure all trustees are on board when the code comes into force,” Mr Mennen said.