The recent events surrounding CommInsure’s claims handling are a sign that the life insurance sector must tackle the technical language in its policies, argue ANZ and MetLife executives.
Speaking at the FSC Life Insurance Conference last week, both ANZ’s Australia Wealth managing director Alexis George and MetLife chief executive Deanne Stewart agreed that some life insurance definitions are too difficult to understand, even for them.
Ms Stewart said she supports the idea of industry-standard definitions.
“We are not an easy industry to deal with. Print a TPD claims form in your area and attempt to go through it yourself and you’ll get a sense of that,” she said.
“We all have different definitions, we all use different medical codes and that is not only confusing for us and our staff but very confusing for our customers.
“If anything, the events of the past week certainly show just how technical that nature is, so much so that a lot of us in the industry don’t necessarily understand the underlying definition (of some polices).”
Ms George echoed Ms Stewart’s sentiments, adding that although life companies do not necessarily compete on definitions, there is a need to simplify the technicality.
“I’m not sure if we have to have standard or minimum definitions, but absolutely we’ve got to do something about the technical language that we use. I like to think I’m a reasonably intelligent woman but honestly, some of these things are well beyond my mental capability," she said.
“That’s a real challenge right? I mean if we don’t understand it, how can a customer understand it?”
Ms George also pointed to the controversial events from this month as opportunities for the industry to unite and confront issues together.
“This is a serious wake-up call for us as an industry and I think as leaders, we now need to band together. We need to take action, not just talk, and we need to have a united front about how we’re going to change our industry to make it better,” Ms George said.