Understand the insurance claims process

Posted on 20 November 2020
Understand the insurance claims process

MoneySmart
(ASIC)

It's easier to make a claim on your life insurance if you gather the right information for your insurer.

Who to contact to make a claim

To make a claim on your insurance, speak to the person or company you bought the policy from.

If you bought insurance through:

  • an insurer - contact the insurance company
  • an insurance broker or financial adviser - speak to them first
  • a superannuation fund - contact your fund
  • an employment arrangement - speak to your employer

Ask how the claims process works and what forms you need to fill out. Make sure you have your policy number available. If you're struggling physically or emotionally, ask a trusted friend or family member for help with the claims process.

What information you need to provide

The insurer will ask for information to support your claim. Depending on the type of insurance, you may have to provide:

  • medical reports and medical test results from your doctor
  • details of your work duties, including physical requirements, and the number of hours you work each week
  • payslips and tax returns, or financial statements if you are self employed
  • if a person has passed away, a death certificate or medical report listing the cause of death

Your insurer may ask for permission to contact your doctor about your claim. You may also have to go to an independent medical examination with a specialist, who then reports to the insurer.

If illness or injury continues to affect your ability to earn an income, you may need to have regular assessments and complete progress claim forms.

How long the claims process takes

Depending on the circumstances, an insurer will let you know their decision for:

  • income-related claims - within 2 months of being notified about your claim, or 2 months after the waiting period has expired
  • other claims - within 6 months of being notified about your claim, or 6 months after the waiting period has expired

To find out the average time your insurer takes to finalise a claim, see the life insurance claims comparison tool.

The Life Insurance Code of Practice sets out what insurers should do when handling your claim, including timeframes for making a decision and keeping you updated. If they do not meet these standards you can complain to the insurer.

Complain about an insurer's claims process or decision

If you're not satisfied with the claims process or decision, make a complaint to the insurer or super fund. Do this as soon as you can.

If you can't reach an agreement, contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to make a complaint and get free, independent dispute resolution.

Urgent financial help

If you need urgent financial help while a claim is being assessed, speak to the insurer or super fund. They will consider your circumstances and may be able to:

  • speed up the assessment and decision about the claim
  • make an advance payment to help you

You will have to provide your insurer with documents that support your need for urgent financial help. These could include bank statements or Centrelink statements. Payments for urgent financial help may reduce your claim payout.

See urgent help with money for more information on where to get support.

Posted in: News  

Australia to benefit from Asian rebound

Posted on 19 November 2020
Australia to benefit from Asian rebound

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)

The relative success of containing the coronavirus among Australia's regional neighbours and a strong economic rebound in China will assist the nation's recovery from the first recession in nearly 30 years.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says China, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan, together with Australia and New Zealand, have been effective in limiting the transmission of COVID-19.

Some countries in the region also remain largely COVID-free, including many of the Pacific islands.

At the same time, the Chinese economy has also rebounded strongly.

"Indeed, China's rebound in real GDP in the June quarter was equal to the total size of Belgium's economy in 2019," Mr Frydenberg told The Australian Strategic Forum 2020 on Wednesday.

"The sharp contraction in GDP that China saw in the March quarter was completely recovered in the June quarter of this year."

This recovery is expected to continue in 2021 with the Australian Treasury forecasting China to grow by a further eight per cent.

"These two factors our relative success on the health front and China's strong recovery will further enhance our region's prospects as we move into recovery," Mr Frydenberg said.

"And Australia will benefit from this. A stronger region will help boost our own recovery from COVID-19."

But he said the immediate recovery goes beyond just a China story.

It is also tied to the continued, longer term rise of India, Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

"These growth engines of the future with relatively young and growing populations will continue to reshape the region and create important new opportunities for Australia," he said.

"That is why the Morrison government is deepening our economic partnerships, to take advantage of these new opportunities."

Last weekend, Australia signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Australia and 14 other Indo-Pacific countries, representing 30 per cent of global economic growth.

"This builds on the government's ongoing success in securing trade agreements and, importantly, it signifies that our region remains committed to the principles of open trade," Mr Frydenberg said.

"This will ensure that Australia is well placed to reap the full benefits of a strong and growing Indo-Pacific."

Posted in: News  

Estimate how much super you'll have

Posted on 16 November 2020
Estimate how much super you'll have

MoneySmart
(ASIC)

Take some of the guesswork out of planning for the future. Work out how much super you'll have when you retire, and if it will be enough to fund the lifestyle you want.

It's never too soon to start planning for a better financial future.

Estimate how much super you'll have

You probably know how much super you have now, but do you know how much you'll have when you retire?

Use the Moneysmart retirement planner to estimate:

  • how much money you'll have to spend each year once you retire
  • how fees, investment options and contributions will affect your retirement income

You can also use the planner to test out different scenarios and work out how to grow your super.

Use our retirement planner

Estimate how much super you'll have when you retire.

How much super you'll need when you retire

The amount of super you'll need when you retire depends on:

  • your big costs in retirement, and
  • the lifestyle you want

Most people can now expect to live well into their eighties. This means that if you stop working at 65, you'll need retirement income for 20 years or more.

You might be nervous about your investments or super at the moment. But don't make any rash decisions based on falls or gains in the markets.

Find out the steps you can take to make well-informed investment decisions.

Your big costs in retirement

Think about any big costs that might be part of your retirement plans. For example:

  • paying off your mortgage
  • rent
  • renovating your home
  • travel
  • medical costs

The lifestyle you want

Think about how you plan to spend your money in retirement. If you own your own home, a rule of thumb is that you'll need two-thirds (67%) of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living in retirement.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) provides an industry retirement standard. This estimates how much money you'll need, depending on your lifestyle.

ASFA Retiremetn Standard Comfortable lifestyle Modest lifestyle
Single $43,687 a year $27,902 a year
  $837 a week $535 a week
Couple $61,909 a year $40,380 a year
  $1,186 a week $774 a week

Source: ASFA, June quarter 2020

ASFA estimates that the lump sum needed at retirement to support a comfortable lifestyle is $640,000 for a couple and $545,000 for a single person. This assumes a partial Age Pension.

ASFA estimates that a modest lifestyle, which covers the basics, is mostly met by the Age Pension. They estimate the lump sum needed to support a modest lifestyle for a single or couple is $70,000.

Build up your super

Many things contribute to your income in retirement, including investments outside of super and assets such as your home, especially if you downsize.

If you decide it is important to build your super, there are some actions that can make a big difference over time. Think about:

If you don't have as much as you'd like, it's never too late to build up your super to boost your retirement savings.

Throughout your working life, check your super at least annually. Check your fund has the correct personal details and tax file number (TFN). Review your employer's contributions, and your account fees, investment options and insurance. If you're not satisfied or don't understand any details about your fund, call them and ask questions.

If you need financial advice

Planning for your retirement is complex, and everyone's situation is different. Think about getting personalised advice from a financial adviser to help you plan ahead. Many super funds also provide this service.

 

Posted in: News  

Jobless thrown another temporary lifeline

Posted on 12 November 2020
Jobless thrown another temporary lifeline

Daniel McCulloch
(Australian Associated Press)

Unemployed Australians will soon receive $100 less per fortnight as coronavirus supplements are extended at a reduced rate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is cutting the fortnightly pandemic payment to $150 from the end of December and extending it until March.

Single people on JobSeeker will receive up to $815 a fortnight from the start of next year.

Mr Morrison stressed the need to encourage people into work.

"We cannot allow the lifeline that has been extended to now hold Australia back as we move into the next phases of recovery," he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

The coronavirus supplement initially doubled the $550 dole before being reduced in September.

Mr Morrison is not ruling out increasing the JobSeeker base rate beyond March.

"We haven't made a final decision on that," he said.

"Right now what matters is the supports that will continue to be provided at these elevated and temporary levels."

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was extraordinary the dole was being docked.

"They've cut both wage subsidies through JobKeeper and they're cutting JobSeeker when the government itself says more people will go on to unemployment benefits between now and Christmas," Mr Albanese said.

"Now is not the time to be withdrawing support from the economy."

The temporary reprieve will not satisfy community organisations, business groups, unions and economists calling for a permanent increase to the dole.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott is demanding a long-term solution.

"Why shouldn't unemployed people have the same certainty and predictability, instead of living from three months to three months, and get a decent, adequate allowance that allows them to live with dignity?"

More than 1.5 million Australians on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and parenting payments are receiving boosted welfare payments.

Once the coronavirus supplement is stripped away altogether, the dole is set to return to its pre-pandemic rate of $40 a day.

Mission Australia chief executive James Toomey said the inflated rate made a huge difference for people struggling to afford housing, education and healthcare.

"We are perplexed the federal government is considering further cuts to income support payments in early 2021," he said.

"Now is the time to provide certainty beyond March and lock in a new, permanent and adequate rate of income support to restore dignity and so that everyone is included in the recovery ahead."

The government is also extending the income-free area, which allows welfare recipients to earn $300 per fortnight without having their payments docked.

The elevated partner taper rate and expanded eligibility for sole traders and the self-employed are also being extended.

Posted in: News  

JobSeeker decision due in early December

Posted on 29 October 2020
JobSeeker decision due in early December

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)

A decision on the rate of JobSeeker is expected to be made by early December, with the government hinting elevated levels will continue.

Unemployment Australians are receiving $250 more a fortnight than usual with the coronavirus supplement.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said a decision would be made based on economic conditions.

"If the evidence supports the continuation of elevated levels of support, they will be made available to Australians who need them," she told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday

"I think the prime minister made it very clear and provided certainty to Australians that on the 1st of January there is very likely to be continued elevated levels of support, recognising that we still are in a pandemic and we still don't know when this pandemic is going to end."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday gave his strongest indication yet the coronavirus supplement could be extended into next year.

"I have been clear and leant into it pretty heavily that people can expect the COVID supplement to be going forward beyond the end of this year," he told parliament.

"The precise level and the arrangements that sit around that are matters the government is considering now and will be doing so over the next few weeks."

The $250 a fortnight coronavirus supplement shrunk from $550 at the height of the pandemic.

The boost is due to end in December and the government would have to legislate a further extension.

Mr Morrison said a decision would be made before parliament rises for the year on December 10 so it can be stamped into law.

Without the coronavirus supplement, the dole payment would return to its pre-pandemic rate of $40 a day.

"Living without a job would be extremely difficult for any Australian," Senator Ruston conceded.

Posted in: News  
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