AFRM Launches Claims Advocacy Service

Specialist risk advice practice Australian Financial Risk Management (AFRM) has launched a claims advocacy service for retail and group insurance policy holders.

ACA Founding Director, Rob Vitnell

ACA Founding Director, Rob Vitnell

The service has been developed in conjunction with claims administration specialists, Gallagher Bassett, will operate under its own brand as AFRM Claims Advocacy (ACA) and be headed by AFRM, General Manager – Victoria, Rob Vitnell, as ACA Founding Director.

Retail life insurance clients who use the service will be charged a fee for service, which Vitnell said “…would be a miniscule percentage of the figures lawyers are charging”.

Costs for super funds members were still being finalised with Vitnell stating ACA was negotiating partnership with super funds who wanted to offer the service to fund members.

 …clients who use the service will be charged a fee for service, which “…would be a miniscule percentage of the figures lawyers are charging”…

Clients using the service will be provided with a Claims Advocate who will assist with a claim, provide resources and build a support network using AFRM’s claims experience and Gallagher Bassett’s return-to-work capabilities.

Vitnell said there was an “…opportunity to provide a more complete customer-service approach to insurance” and ACA was designed to meet that opportunity in the area of claims, particularly for policyholders lacking adequate claims advice or advocacy.

“We put the customer at the centre of everything we do. ACA aims to give policyholders the best support and advice in their time of need, which we believe will enable them to achieve better financial and wealth outcomes,” Vitnell said.

Gallagher Bassett Managing Director – Australia, John McNamara said the service would be valuable to claimants suffering financial and emotional stress and ACA would vet claims to ensure those which were valid were passed onto an insurer.

  • JM

    This sounds interesting. The potential positives are kind of obvious. A few left field thoughts, triggered by this quote: “we believe will enable them to achieve better financial and wealth outcomes”.

    1: If “better financial and wealth outcomes” are achieved by helping people back to work to earn income as appropriate, that’s gold. That’s a win, win for all. But especially the claimant.

    2: If “better financial and wealth outcomes” are achieved by making sure the claimant maximises the insurance payout, then one must wonder who pays for this. Ultimately, it’s all the other insurance policyholders via higher premiums.
    3: An extension of 2 would be that, as data analytics improves, imagine a life company charging higher premiums for an adviser/practice who uses something like ACA for that purpose.

  • Sue Laing I the risk store

    Hi JM, it isn’t possible to claim more $$ than what an insured is insured for and is eligible for, so please explain what you think you mean by ‘maximising the insurance payout’? Either it’s a claim or it isn’t and claims advocacy is not about bullying anyone, it’s about cooperation and collaboration to speed up evidence gathering and interpret the terms correctly and also in this case as stated it appears to be about peripheral support for claimants’ return to work and recovery-related services. I read Option 1 as the goal…

  • Squeaky_1

    I must be missing something . . . isn’t this the service that every normal dedicated risk adviser has always given their clients? Without a fee. Ah, the wonders of commissions. Commissions have done us proud for over 5 decades and can you believe self interested life companies and politicians want to take them away so the client can reach deeper into their pockets and pay fees ON TOP of premiums. Client best interest takes another beating around the head. Thanks life companies and govt – the two are joined at the hip in this effort, make no mistake.

    • LC Hammer

      Squeaky_1 you will note in paragraph 6 that it says that the service is particularly for policyholders lacking adequate claims advice or advocacy. So, yeah, perhaps you did miss something.

      • Squeaky_1

        Thanks LC, I appreciate you responding. I would just add that clients who lack claims advice or advocacy will be a quickly ballooning subset when we see just how many fed-up risk advisers call it quits when the life companies and govt force them out in a few short years with these draconian clawback periods and curtailment of income, not to mention wholly unnecessary and costly ‘new’ education requirements that will NOT help riskies protect their clients ANY better at all – worse actually due to study time away from family and clients. It’s that client best interest uppermost in the minds of life coys and govt, you see . . . . . NOT!

        • LC Hammer

          All the more reason for a service such as the one ACA is offering. I personally know some people in very dire circumstances at the moment- they have some industry fund insurance but that is all. Trying to gather all necessary evidence and fill out forms, endless phone calls, lack of understanding re policy terms is weighing heavily on them at a time when all they need is compassion, understanding and financial support to pay the medical bills as Mum battles terminal cancer. Claw backs, education requirements, adviser income is a non-event compared to what these people are facing. I do appreciate what you are saying though. However, the point is, a service such as ACA will be wonderful for an industry that has constantly battled the fall out of mistrust that a few bad eggs have cast over the industry.

          • Squeaky_1

            Very good points, well said!

          • LC Hammer

            Thanks squeaky. You’re clearly one of the good eggs. I suggest spread the word about this service! Advisers often come across stories from clients who have relatives or friends in really tragic circumstances with no advocacy. Imagine the value add of an adviser who can say “by the way, tell your friend / relative to call this number. They will get support from real people in the industry who are not lawyers, and will advocate on their behalf and ease the entire process.” Those clients’ trust in you will definitely go up a notch!! Go Squeaky! Get on board 👍🏼👍🏼😊

  • glenn beard

    I would be happy to do this kind of role full time. I have managed 50 claims in 13 years. Glenn Beard