TAL, Australia’s leading life insurance specialist, has launched a new education course that prepares financial advisers to better understand cancer conditions and give their clients the best possible support.
Run through TAL’s industry leading Risk Academy, the course is presented by TAL’s Health Services team and focuses on understanding the staging, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer as well as the medical terminology relevant to both underwriting and when assessing product definition requirements at claims time.
TAL General Manager for Health Services, Dr. Sally Phillips, said the course was developed as part of TAL’s wider health strategy, which involves sharing TAL’s health expertise and medical best practice with its partners.
“We want to lead the industry in understanding medical conditions such as cancer, and one way we are doing this is by equipping our adviser partners with the knowledge and tools they need to get the best outcomes for clients that are at risk of, or faced with, cancer.“Cancer represents the largest category of claims for TAL  and it costs Australia more than $4.8 billion per year in direct health system costs . We know the devastating impact it can have on the lives of individuals and their families, and there is value in a financial adviser helping people through their cancer journey.
“This course aims to up-skill advisers on the specifics of the medical condition so they can help clients choose the right insurance cover for their situation and lifestyles at underwriting time and best support clients if they need to claim,” said Dr. Phillips.
The course explains the minimum definitions for cancer set out by the Life Insurance Code of Practice and provides references that advisers can use to quantify the financial impact of cancer on their clients.
During the course, Dr. Phillips also discusses some of the support mechanisms that TAL provides for clients on claim for cancer, such as information booklets to help them understand their situation and support their return to health. This includes tips on looking after clients’ physical, mental and emotional health.
Dr. Phillips said that feedback around the course has been positive, with advisers citing that learning more about the different types of cancer will enable them to talk to insurers about it with more authority when it arises in the form of a client claim.
The course may be accessed through TAL’s Risk Academy on-demand webinar. The webinar is one hour and carries one CPD point accredited through the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) and the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA).
 20% of all the claims TAL paid from April 2016-March 2017 were for cancer. Over this period, TAL paid $1.4billion in claims overall to over 23,000 Australians and their families.
 2008 figure cited in the Cancer Forum, Volume 41 Number 2 July 2017