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SCT urges empathy around TPD claims

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Deduction of group life insurance premiums accounted for the second-highest number of complaints to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) in the three months to December 31.

Such matters made up 10% of the 572 complaints received.

Death benefit distributions accounted for 26.4%, while total and permanent disability (TPD) complaints accounted for 5.2%; this broke down into complaints about declined medical evidence (2.6%) and delays in making a decision (2.6%).

The tribunal says superannuation fund trustees “can support their members by clearly communicating what documents need to be submitted with a [TPD] claim, and the policy terms against which it will be assessed”.

The SCT’s latest bulletin says: “We see complaints from members on how their claim was handled and the experience they had during the process.

“We hear from members who have had to repeat themselves to multiple assessors and trustee representatives, and feel they’re not being heard.

“Providing a single point of contact can make a big difference to the member experience.”

The tribunal says some TPD complaints involve members who are ill but do not meet policy payout terms.

“The best ‘rejection’ letters we have seen are those that are understanding and empathetic,” the SCT says. “They clearly set out the policy terms and explain why the claim did not meet the criteria, and they do so in plain language.”

Complaints about levels of insurance cover accounted for 2.8% of complaints in the quarter.