On 1 July 2017, Australia’s leading life insurance specialist, TAL, adopted the Life Insurance Code of Practice (the Code), while committing to continue going above and beyond the Code’s requirements to identify ongoing opportunities for ensuring the best possible experience for its customers.
The Code is designed to lift industry standards and enhance consumer protections in the important areas of life insurance sales practices, underwriting, communications and claims, while setting new minimum standard medical definitions for cancer, heart attack and stroke for use in trauma/critical illness policies, which TAL strongly supports.
TAL Group CEO and Managing Director, Brett Clark, who played a leading role in co-creating the Code, said since the release of the Code, TAL has been working to ensure it complies with, and where possible exceeds, the requirements of the Code.
He is calling on the industry as a whole to embrace the opportunity of looking beyond the Code, and find new ways to raise industry standards further and improve transparency for customers.
“The adoption of the Code is a key milestone for our industry, and for TAL it’s another step towards achieving our stated Ambition: that our customers understand and value the protection they have and are confident we will be there when they need us most.”
“The task for us all now is to look beyond the Code, and challenge ourselves to improve every area of our business through innovative thinking and a greater focus on the needs of the consumer,” Mr Clark said.
TAL has taken a number of steps to achieve greater oversight and accountability, and enhance customer experience and outcomes, including:
• applying the Code minimum medical definitions to all new claims received on individual products purchased by customers from 10 August 2009 (the Code requirement was to do this only for new customers from 1 July 2017);
• introducing ongoing consumer testing to ensure TAL is consistently meeting the letter and spirit of the Code;
• appointing an independent adviser to review TAL’s claims management practices and provide feedback so TAL can continuously improve the way it helps customers;
• committing to public reporting on our Code performance annually so that consumers can make their own judgements;
• working directly with consumers to simplify product fact sheets for all direct products, not only funeral insurance products;
• developing comprehensive support materials for customers impacted by a major illness, such as cancer and stroke, drawing on the expertise and experience of TAL’s Health Services team in collaboration with the medical community.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the FSC, other life insurance industry members and superannuation fund trustees on the next iteration of the Code to continue driving improvements in our industry, which plays such an important role in the life and wellbeing of Australians.”