At Christian Super, the decision to handle group insurance claims processing in-house means staff can pray with members at their time of difficulty.

Chief executive of the $1 billion faith-based superannuation fund, Peter Murphy, takes great pride in the organisation’s compassionate and personal approach to handling claims.

Christian Super is a finalist for the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017, in the category Best Insurance Offering.

Investment Magazine will feature Q&As with all the finalists, ahead of the winners being revealed at the awards dinner in Sydney on March 9.

Here, Murphy discusses the positive social impact default group insurance can have for super fund members, and outlines why he thinks rebuilding the public’s trust must be the top priority for the industry’s working group in 2017.

IM: What do you think should be the top priority for the Insurance in Superannuation Industry Working Group?

PM: There are many high priorities: outdated and inconsistent definitions, claims processing times, uncompassionate documentation requests, increasing unnecessary litigation, and the list can go on. However, from my perspective, the top priority, following the Four Corner’s report [“Money for Nothing” from March last year, into CommInsure’s practices] is that we need to build trust back into the provision of something that many of our members do value.

Anecdotally, I know a man whose wife has a brain injury and at age 40 is confined to a wheel chair and requires permanent care. The husband is now left to raise their 6-year-old daughter. His wife’s superannuation fund (not Christian Super) provided a total permanent disability payment that has relieved the family of financial pressure at their most traumatic time. When I see stories like this, I am proud to be in this industry.
Sadly though, these stories are not told because the community’s trust has been broken. We need to start the long process of rebuilding that trust and the working group is the crucial first step.

What feature of Christian Super’s insurance offering are you most proud of?

I am most proud of how we process insurance claims.

Christian Super processes all of our claims in-house. This means we have an opportunity to talk and pray with our members and their families at times that are some of the most traumatic over life’s journey.

The grief that families experience at these times can manifest in a range of emotions, including denial, anger, sadness or worry, before they get to a point of acceptance of their new normal and realise we are a friend that seeks to support them.

We are so fortunate to have a great internal team able to help our members at these difficult and painful times.

What was the biggest development at Christian Super in 2016?

The launch of our funds management business Brightlight (a specialist impact advisory) has been the most notable achievement over the year. However, from a member perspective, I am particularly proud of the development of our new member statements. This is a crucial point of communication and so much more than a piece of compliance, which I fear it can often be [considered].

Our annual member statement now has a projection on the front page so each individual knows how their savings is tracking.

Another new feature of the statement is that we now communicate to members the social impact of the way their super is invested. We now let members know how many microfinance loans or kilowatts of renewable energy their retirement savings has been put to work producing.

What do you expect will be your biggest area of focus in 2017?

We will continue to focus on providing a uniquely Christian alternative that appeals to the Christian tribe.

In particular, we will be looking more deeply into the provision of financial advice from a uniquely Christian perspective. This is one that seeks to approach the post-work season of life from a position of contentment and generosity, rather than as an unexpressed anxiety from all the uncertainty that retirement seems to bring to many.

The winners of the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards 2017 will be unveiled at a black-tie event at the Ivy, Sydney, on March 9, supported by Vanguard and AIA Australia. You can purchase single tickets or tables for 10 by visiting the event website. The Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards proudly support The Wayside Chapel.

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