Only a third of super funds have changed the insurance offer in MySuper products, an Investment Magazine survey has revealed.

New benefits are being offered by 19 per cent of funds, while 14 per cent have merely adjusted existing offers according to age groups. The most common new benefit is total and permanent disability cover, followed by life event cover.

The survey also revealed that where income protection is being offered, two thirds of funds award it according to salary, while a third offer it on a cap basis. This cap ranges from a maximum of $4000 per month (8.5 per cent of respondents) to less than $1000 a month (6.4 per cent).

The results were unveiled at the second annual Conexus Financial/AIA Australia Group Insurance Summit in Sydney on August 13.

One of the conference highlights was the case study presented by REST Industry Super on its approach to rehabilitating members who were on long-term sick leave and drawing income protection.

Paul Sayer, chief operating officer of REST (pictured right), revealed that after extending the offer of income protection from a two-year limit to a member’s full working life in 2008, the fund found itself with 451 long-term claimants. Sayer-Paul-150

In 2010 the fund launched a pilot scheme with 10 claimants to see if it could rehabilitate them and get them back to work.

At the end of the pilot five people returned to work, three others were engaged in return-to-work programs, while two, in the words of Sayer, “wanted nothing to do with us”.

The program was then rolled out to a further 1000 claimants over a 12-month campaign, but has now become part of the claims process.

“It is not just a group of individuals that you set aside for rehab. You need to think more widely about all those pressure points and to make sure when you are doing the first calls to the members, whether this is an opportunity for them to think about rehab.”

The initial call to members offering rehabilitation could provoke a fair bit of scepticism.

“There is a bit of anxiety from members about what is in it for them and what you are trying to do. Admittedly, as a fund we are trying to reduce our costs, but super funds have a role to be there for the member. As a not-for-profit fund, we can care about the member, we can think about what’s in it for them.”

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