The shadow minister for financial services and superannuation, Bernie Ripoll, and chief executive of AIA one of Australia’s largest insurance providers, Damien Mu, called on the group insurance industry to continue its path of innovation in finding solutions to the challenges in the industry.

In his opening remarks at the Conexus Financial/AIA Group Insurance Summit, Mu said the industry should collaborate on innovation around the provision of insurance for every day Australians.

“We in this room have a duty, an obligation and an opportunity to take the lead on creating a sustainable industry,” he said. “Leadership is not about title but the position you take back to your businesses and the ability to protect Australians via insurance in superannuation.”

He identified product design, claims, rehabilitation, pricing, data, terms, eligibility and making sure the right people have the right cover as areas that could all benefit from innovation.

Both Mu and Ripoll acknowledged that group insurance, through superannuation, had given coverage for millions of Australians that wouldn’t have otherwise had it.

Ripoll said: “Most people don’t have life or TPD outside of super. This is a multi-billion industry providing a great service to Australians but also relieves the pressure on the welfare budget of the government.”

He acknowledged the enormous pressure on the group insurance industry due in part to a great surge in TPD claims.

Ripoll said there was a correlation between increased unemployment and increased TPD claims with a 1 per cent increase in unemployment the equivalent of a 10 per cent increase in claims.

“This industry is innovating and evolving outside government intervention, and it is encouraging to see innovation in the industry. There is a challenge to keep the balance between sustainability and keeping premiums affordable.”

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