July 1 saw the Life Insurance Code of Practice come in to force across our industry. Thanks to the work of everyone across TAL - I'm pleased to say we are fully compliant and have been able to go above and beyond the requirements of the Code in multiple instances.
This is a key milestone towards us achieving our ambition of our customers understanding and valuing the protection they have, and they can be confident we’ll be there when they need us most.
The Code sets new and higher standards for the life insurance industry, reducing complexity for customers and making us easier to deal with. It also sets new minimum standard medical definitions for cancer, heart attack and stroke for use in trauma/critical illness policies, which TAL strongly supports.
Having spent the last six months or so looking at our working practices, I've been happy to see that the way we work was often already ahead of the new standards. But we have had to make some changes that may affect you and your members by:
- amending emails sent to the fund or administrator on the acceptance or denial of underwriting applications,
- inserting a new warning for members transferring existing cover online regarding the risks of cancelling their existing arrangements before their new cover is confirmed,
- discussing the online availability of PDSs.
TAL has gone above and beyond the requirements of the Code in the following areas:
- introducing ongoing consumer testing to ensure TAL is meeting the requirements of the Code, in addition to other auditing,
- appointing a new independent adviser to review TAL's claims case handling and provide feedback so TAL can continuously improve the way it helps customers,
- providing factsheets for all Direct products, not only funeral products as required by the Code,
- applying minimum medical definitions to all new claims received from the date of the launch of the Code 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, and
- revising all of TAL's contracts with independent service providers to improve the way these service providers deal with customers, ensuring they're open, honest, timely and transparent. While the Code only requires reviewing some of these contracts from 1 July, TAL did this for all of these relationships.
You can expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks and months about these changes, and any that we'll need to make as a result of the on-going Insurance in Superannuation Working Group.