Confused about whether you have TPD Insurance and/or Income Protection with your Superannuation…you are not alone.
A recent investigation by the Ombudsman SA highlights ongoing concerns with the superannuation insurance industry and the difficulties injured persons face in accessing their entitlements.
In December 2019, ASIC reported that life insurance attached to default superannuation products was costing more than superannuation itself but many customers were not even aware that they were paying for the insurance.
Certainly, it is our experience at Lindbloms Lawyers that the majority of our injured clients are unaware that a portion of their superannuation contributions are being used to pay for insurance and that they may be eligible to receive payment of income protection insurance benefits and/or a total and permanent disability, (TPD) benefit if they are unable to work.
Income protection insurance can help pay the bills while clients are trying to recover and get back to work, and for those workers who are facing a loss of career, a TPD benefit can provide substantial financial and emotional relief.
Regrettably, although the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was published in February 2019, recommending multiple changes across all sectors, problems persist.
On 4 March 2021, ASIC advised that they had commenced legal proceedings against Statewide Super, an Adelaide based industry fund, for false or misleading representations about the insurance cover held by members of the Fund, including advising some 12,500 members that they held cover at a time when they did not, as well as deducting insurance premiums from the superannuation accounts of some Fund members who did not have insurance cover.
Statewide Super are continuing to take remedial action for those members who have been affected.
In December 2021, the Ombudsman SA reported the findings of an investigation in to TPD benefits payable to members of the South Australian Superannuation Board, (Super SA) an exclusive fund for all State government employees.
The Ombudsman’s investigation focussed on the fact that under the current regulations applicable to the Super SA scheme, a member of the fund can only make an application for a TPD benefit within 2 years following termination of their employment and this time limit is unable to be extended in any circumstances.
The Ombudsman concluded that the 2 year time limit was “unjust or improperly discriminatory towards people with disabilities.”
Concern was also expressed by the Ombudsman about how information was being provided to members, a recurring theme with superannuation insurance.
We understand that changes are now being made to the scheme so that the time limit is removed, a victory for members of the Fund.
What do I do next?
Should you be uncertain about your potential entitlement to payment of income protection insurance or total and permanent disability insurance benefits from Statewide Super, Super SA or any other superannuation funds, contact us for an obligation free appointment to speak to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.
 ASIC Industry in Superannuation 2019-20: Industry implementation of the Voluntary Code of Practice, Report 646, December 2019