Greg Bright: What about lobbying the government?
Helen Hewett: Well I think we can do that, we’ve got the ear of the industry. I think we can do good things, the industry funds, but I think we can all do great things together, working with the scientists. I think we can use our voice with all the ministers, not just in the health sector, but with state and federal governments, so the money is much better directed.
When you can have a scientist in New York or in Perth and one in Sydney, both working on the same thing and they don’t even know it, it’s obvious the money isn’t being used as it could be. It just seems to me that a bit of infrastructure is required, and that could be provided by the wider finance industry.
Greg Bright: The Legg Mason Master Fund is actually an interesting one. It was the very first fund that had investment choice outside its own managers. It has a panel of insurers and they’ve had differences between those insurers in terms of their assessment of their treatment of suicide claims. Kimon, can you tell us why you’ve got a panel and how you differ from the typical industry fund in this way?
Kimon Kouryialas: Our outsourced model is trying to achieve the concept of best of breed. We believe we should have the ability to run a panel that allows ourselves and our members to access a particular organisation. And that’s why we have a panel of four insurers. The interesting thing over the last three to four months is that suicide is becoming an issue for us and what we’ve found is there really is no set guideline in terms of the insurers as to their policy on suicide.
To give you an example, we have one insurer that actually has no exclusions on suicide, whereas another insurer has an exclusion for any intentional self-inflicted injury.
Greg Bright: Michael, what sort of saving would there be if you had an insurance policy which just completely excluded self-inflicted harm?
Michael Back: Just to give an example, I knew of a particular industry fund where the suicide rate in all death claims was 50 per cent. That’s fairly serious. So we actually engaged Lifeline at that time to get some sort of momentum. We were talking about hotlines and talking about calling cards and all those sorts of things, just to get an awareness program happening.