Industry stalwart Jim Minto has been named chair of the Insurance in Superannuation Industry Working Group (ISWG), which has the ambitious target of producing a binding code of conduct by the end of 2017.

It was confirmed on Tuesday, December 20, 2016, that Minto, a former chair and recent interim chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), would chair the group. Industry Funds Forum chair Sandy Grant was named deputy chair.

Group insurance within superannuation has come under increased scrutiny from the press and government due to a stream of stories about members being underserved, including cases where they have paid fees for insurance products and then been unable to make claims on them. The working group is the sector’s attempt to tackle the issues before the heavy hand of regulation falls.

The ISWG has four stated priorities:

  • Improving costs to account balances for consumers, including the right cover for young people
  • Addressing multiple default insurance policies
  • Providing better assistance to consumers during claims
  • Improving communication on insurance with superannuation fund members.

 

The group will operate in two tiers: a governance board that makes decisions via consensus, and a technical working group responsible for developing the priorities the governance board determines. All participating representatives have now been named.

ISWG governance board members:

  • Jim Minto (Chair)
  • Sandy Grant (Deputy chair) (IFF)
  • Tom Garcia (Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees)
  • Catherine Bolger (AIST)
  • Martin Fahy (ASFA)
  • Glen McCrea (ASFA)
  • Ken Whitton (ASFA)
  • Sally Loane (Financial Services Council)
  • Jesse Krncevic (FSC)
  • David Whiteley (Industry Super Australia)
  • Richard Watts (ISA)
  • Damien Mu (AIA)
  • Deanne Stewart (MetLife)
  • Melinda Howes (BT Group)
  • Richard Weatherhead (AustralianSuper)
  • Xavier O’Halloran (Choice)

 

ISWG technical working group members:

  • Richard Weatherhead (Chair) (AustralianSuper)
  • Craig Harrison (Commonwealth Bank/CommInsure)
  • Damian Hill (REST Industry Super)
  • Natalie Binns (REST)
  • Caroline James (ANZ)
  • Jenny Oliver (TAL)
  • Jeremy Houghton (AIA)
  • Therese Kenny (Hostplus)
  • Colin Cassidy (Hostplus)
  • Teifi Whatley (Sunsuper)
  • Melinda Howes (BT Group)
  • Ian Lorimer (UniSuper)
  • Chris Davies (Telstra Super)
  • Kathryn Forrest (Telstra Super)
  • Deanne Stewart (MetLife)
  • James Carey (MetLife)
  • Megan Beer (AMP)
  • David Evans (AMP)
  • Tim Jenkins (NAB)
  • Noel Lacey (Cbus Super)

 

The group said in a statement: “Through the ISWG, industry bodies, in consultation with consumer groups, are building a reform framework and implementation plan to ensure that group insurance in superannuation remains accessible to all Australians.”

It added a reminder that group insurance in superannuation relieves pressure on the government purse, reducing the annual cost to social security by about $403 million.

The group plans to release discussion papers on how to improve consumer outcomes for group insurance in superannuation in early 2017.