The Government has stopped short in reviewing the Royal Commission’s recommendation to legislate universal key definitions, terms, and exclusions for default MySuper group life policies, according to a lawyer.
Berrill and Watson Lawyers principal, John Berrill, told Super Review the Government went as far as collecting submissions in during March and April 2019 but that is where it had stopped.
“Literally nothing has happened since. What I read six months ago was that the Government said: ‘we’ve complied with that Royal Commission recommendation’,” he said.
“But no they haven’t, all they’ve done is put out an issues paper and called out for submissions. They haven’t produced any legislation or follow ups, nor have they come up with any set of universal terms and conditions. Nothing has happened. It’s now nearly been two years.”
Berrill said the Government had not done anything as it was not a priority for them as Treasury had a lot on its plate and the COVID-19 pandemic had been a distraction.
“But COVID-19 makes some of this stuff, such as consumer protection, really important and yet the response has been to sort of kick it down the road,” he said.
“Vulnerable consumers are more at risk because of COVID-19 due to employment uncertainty, people getting laid off, and people getting sick.”
Berrill said as many people who were laid off during the pandemic were cocooned by JobKeeper and JobSeeker, now that it had stopped these issues were going to come to light.
“The issues around whether their insurance policies respond and whether they’re going to get covered there are now more important, and going to come to light,” Berrill said.
“We need to make the system as good for value for money as possible – those are thing that are more important than ever and are certainly coming to the fore now. But we’ve seen nothing yet from Treasury.”