Life insurers are pledging to help bushfire victims and volunteer workers through a range of different initiatives and support services.
Integrity Life has announced a number of initiatives to help provide relief to people affected by the bushfires.
The insurer notes it will:
- Reduce or waive insurance premiums for three months for impacted members, arranged on a case-by-case basis
- Provide additional leave for staff who have volunteered with the RFS or have needed to protect their homes and communities at risk because of the fires. Staff will be encouraged to use the company’s free mental health support service if needed.
- Financially support commercial initiatives such as Spend with Them and Stay in the Bush by promoting and buying goods and services from affected regional communities where possible throughout 2020
The company says it shares in the grief that so many have experienced over the past few months during the bushfire emergency:
“Our deepest sympathies are with those affected, and we thank everyone who has contributed to the response effort, from those on the front-line to volunteers behind the scenes.”
TAL has several support services available to help the victims and volunteers of the bushfires as well as the recovery efforts across Australia.
A blogpost by TAL’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Brett Clark, on the insurer’s website, notes that its initiatives include premium waivers.
“To ensure our TAL and Asteron Life customers and their families who are directly impacted by the bushfires can maintain the life insurance cover they need, and to provide some financial relief during this difficult time, we’re offering a premium waiver for up to three months.a
“This is available to all existing TAL customers holding policies directly with TAL or through a financial adviser and who qualify for the Federal Government’s Disaster Recovery Allowance or Payment.
“This is in addition to the Financial Hardship Policy support we have been able to offer customers since November 2019,” he notes.
TAL is also offering a premium waiver for up to three months to those who are part of the volunteer fire organisations taking unpaid leave from their regular employment and who hold policies directly or through a financial adviser.
“While the immediate focus should be on the safety of themselves and their loved ones, when they’re able, customers can call our Customer Service team on 1300 209 088 or send an email to: email@example.com to access this support. Alternatively, customers with a financial adviser can contact their adviser.”
The insurer …is processing bushfire-related claims as quickly and pragmatically as possible…
The insurer says it is processing bushfire-related claims as quickly and pragmatically as possible, particularly where personal paperwork has been possibly destroyed or delayed.
“We will work with customers to determine alternatives for paperwork such as identification and death certificates to ensure their claim is assessed and processed as quickly as possible,” Clark notes.
It is also ensuring that impacted customers and their loved ones are aware of its Grief Support services that can be accessed at any time, for free, through a specialist external provider.
In turn, TAL says it has pledged a corporate donation of $200,000 through the TAL Community Foundation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund. This is in addition to the $30,000 donated for bushfire and drought relief in November 2019.
“Furthermore, the TAL Community Foundation will match any personal donation from a TAL employee to any of the state-based rural fire services or the bushfire-related funds of the Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army, WWF, Wires or the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal until 27 March 2020,” Clark notes.
BT has extended its Bushfire Assistance Package and is reducing claims requirements for life insurance customers.
The insurer says in a media release that to help more life insurance customers impacted by the bushfires it has extended the application period of its Bushfire Assistance Package to June 2020 .
In turn it says it’s proactively calling customers living in bushfire-affected areas to determine whether they have been directly impacted.
“Every affected BT customer can also apply for a three-month premium waiver, to ease the cost of life insurance,” the company says.
The insurer is also reducing requirements for new and ongoing claims relating directly to the bushfires. Its claims support includes:
- Assisting with collection of information to commence a claim
- Adopting a flexible approach to provision of financial information, ongoing forms and medical information
- Waiving proof of death where a customer has passed away
- Offering support to link up with additional community services
- Engaging with rehabilitation providers to provide additional support, such as free counselling sessions to those impacted
It says that customers who have a current claim, and are experiencing hardship as a result of the bushfires, are encouraged to speak with their claims consultant, who can arrange advanced payment of benefits which may help customers meet additional expenses.
In addition to the Bushfire Assistance Package, BT is offering a three-month premium waiver through its ongoing Drought Assistance Package for farmers in drought-affected areas.
“Farmers who are affected by both the drought and bushfires may be eligible for a combined six-month premium waiver,” the insurer notes.
Sue Houghton, General Manager BT Insurance, said: “The value of insurance can truly be realised at claim time, when we assist customers who may have lost a loved one or need to rebuild their home. In this time of crisis, we’re here to help.
“We know advisers are working with their clients to solve both immediate and longer-term financial needs, and we are here to support them. I encourage any advisers who may have clients facing hardship to contact us, to see how we can assist.”
All affected insurance customers should contact BT on 132 135 or 1300 553 764, between 8:00am – 6:30pm, Monday to Friday (Sydney/Melbourne time).