The Federal Government has been urged to extend the timetable for the introduction of further legislation impacting insurance inside superannuation on the basis that super fund call centres have already been overwhelmed by the volume of calls relating to cover removed from supposedly inactive accounts.
Australia’s largest industry superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee that despite significant efforts to inform members about the implications of the Government’s Protecting Your Super legislation systems became overwhelmed because of the short time-frames involved.
“When cover was being removed for inactive members under Protecting Your Super, AustralianSuper made a huge effort to allow members losing cover to make an informed decision,” the submission said. “We corresponded with all affected members; we sent text messages to those who did not contact us following the initial correspondence; we contributed financially to an industry-wide ASFA awareness campaign; and we significantly increased staffing at our contact centre. “
The big industry fund said that, “despite all this, due to the short timeframe for removing cover for inactive members, the response from affected members was overwhelming and our expanded contact centre was unable to cope with the volume of calls and provide what we would consider an acceptable service to affected members”.
“Our understanding from industry colleagues is that this was a common experience,” it said.
AustralianSuper said that whilst losing cover might provide significant benefits from not eroding account balances for the majority of members, a failure to make an informed decision to continue cover for members with financial commitments and dependents may have dire financial consequences for those unfortunate enough to die or become disabled.
“As such we believe more implementation time is needed…to allow individual members time to make informed decisions,” it said.