AFRM Claims Advocacy supports FSC call to allow insurers to provide early intervention support

Posted by Damien Jones on 20 June 2018

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AFRM Claims Advocacy has called on the Parliamentary Joint Committee examining if life insurers should be allowed to provide rehabilitation payments to clients to recognise the extremely strong case in favour of doing so set out by the Financial Services Council (FSC) in its recent Cadence Economics research findings. 

Witnesses scheduled to give evidence at a public hearing in Canberra yesterday (20 June 2018) include Cadence Economics. The company’s research commissioned by the FSC, published on 5 June, found that allowing life insurers to provide targeted rehabilitation payments for Australians in need would deliver profound economic benefits to the community.

The research found such reforms could provide benefits to more than 10,000 people per year and also that an estimated 87 people per year could be prevented from becoming totally and permanently disabled.

AFRM Claims Advocacy (ACA) Chief Executive Officer, Bruno Muraca, said his company fully supports the FSC’s position. While insurers are well clearly intentioned (that is; 90 per cent of claims are paid); he acknowledged that among the issues the Parliamentary Joint Committee must consider is a perception of a trust gap between claimants and insurers.

“An option that should be considered is one in which appropriately skilled independent advocates are appointed to work with claimants and insurers to co-develop a suitable rehabilitation plan for the client,” Mr Muraca said.

“We currently work with insurers to seek to meet the biological, psychological and social needs of clients by using a team of trained advocates with appropriate nursing, psychology and or social work training to help coach clients through taking up the rehabilitation option and potentially speeding up their return to wellness.”

Mr Muraca said having an independent third party working to support insurers and claimants through the claims and rehabilitation process would put credible checks and balances in place to support new regulation to allow life insurers to provide targeted rehabilitation payments for Australians in need. The Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry into Options for greater involvement by private sector life insurers in worker rehabilitation is scheduled to publish a final report by 20 September 2018.

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