Insurance claims at QSuper involving legal representation has fallen across all types of claim since 2013 due to higher member service levels.

Legal representation in income protection claims fell from 4.1 per cent in FY2013 to 1.9 per cent in FY2015, while involvement in death claims fell from 3.3 per cent in FY 2013 to 1.1 per cent in FY 2015.

Legal involvement in total and permanent disability claims was more stubborn; rising from 13.8 per cent in FY 2013 to 15.5 per cent in FY 2014, before falling to 13.9 per cent in FY 2015.

Greg Staunton, head of insurance at QSuper, told delegates at the fourth annual Group Insurance Summit, how claims management had been sped up to reduce the risk of legal involvement.

“A single claims manager deals with the claim from day one. The member gets a phone call in 24 hours telling them what the process is going to be and what it is going to involve. It’s a fully tele-claims assessment, picking up the phone and talking to them,” he said.

“Our big focus is support [of the member] and making the right decisions quickly.”

A big driver for QSuper has been the large cut lawyers can take from claimants, with some taking as much as 40 per cent of the benefit.

Speaking on the same panel, Dascia Bennett, executive of customer at NGS Super, said funds needed to accept that overzealous and aggressive lawyers were here to stay as law firms had adopted a new business model.

She urged super funds to communicate the success stories of members who have received timely payouts and support to combat the emotive advertising used by these firms.

John Berrill, principal of Berrill Legal, agreed that the majority of people had a fantastic experience with their funds and that not everyone needed a lawyer.

However, he said that increasing awareness of insurance offerings, driven by advertising campaigns from legal firms, was of benefit to the members.

He added that lawyers would still be needed as funds were introducing greater complexity into their offerings, particularly by changing definitions of TPD.


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