Super funds need to improve their default insurance cover to achieve appropriate levels of adequacy, member engagement and social equity, the Superannuation Insurance Symposium in Melbourne will be told later this month.

And there needs to be greater awareness in retail markets of the under-insurance problem.

John O’Shaughnessy, IFSA deputy chief executive, said that superannuation master trusts, industry funds and corporate funds all needed to improve the level and availability of life insurance, TPD insurance, and income default and ‘options’ cover.

“It is important that trustees take seriously their responsibilities in setting an appropriate level of default cover, and also ensure that super fund members have access to purchasing additional units of cover as each members circumstances will differ,” O’Shaughnessy said yesterday.

Sandy Grant, a CARE Super trustee director, agreed, adding that group insurance was the most important way in Australia to cover working people. Despite improved and cheaper options from many super funds in the past two-three years, Australia remains one of the most under-insured nations in the developed world, especially in retail markets, according to IFSA research.

O’Shaughnessy and Grant will be speaking at the opening session of the conference, at the Melbourne Sofitel on October 28, along with Sharan Burrow, ACTU president. The conference is organized by AIST in conjunction with Investment & Technology magazine.

Other topics to be covered include: pricing of insurance in superannuation, public policy, employer issues, design, claims and mental health. Speakers include: Jocelyn Furlan, Superannuation Complaints Tribunal chair; Mario De Bono, IFS insurance broking group risk principal; and Ian Hickie, University of Sydney professor of psychiatry.

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