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Insurance Business | 28 Nov 2016, 09:00 AM Agree 0
Approach by insurers comes under fire… but is the criticism valid?
  • Robert Cooper | 28 Nov 2016, 10:54 AM Agree 0
    On the face of it, yes it may appear so. But I think Mental illness is a very widespread issue. I believe most people will suffer some sort of mental illness in their lives, some worse than others. At the moment there is much stigma attached to it. Very few seek help because of such prejudices. Most prefer to self-medicate with Alcohol or Drugs hiding it from most until too late. So how do you measure that as an insurer? Put Insurance premiums out of reach covering something that is widespread, or exclude it and concentrate on other injuries or illness?
    Mental illness needs to be treated under our Medicare system and loss of income with Social Security, not put Income Protection policies and other Personal Accident and illness covers including Travel out of reach for the other events we need coverage for.I for one would gladly like to see our Medicare Levy increase to include better services in this area.
  • David Stott | 28 Nov 2016, 11:53 AM Agree 0
    I think the Mental Health exclusions used by General Insurers are way to broad & common.

    These exclusions are effectively throwing a blanket exclusion over the brain. Far too many health conditions list depression or anxiety as a side effect. Healthy people readily accept Mental health exclusions on the basis that 'it will never happen to me' but the reality is quite different. A current TV commercial suggests that 1 in 5 Australians will suffer a mental health condition. The concerns raised by the advocates are valid in that once this target has been put on your back, the insurance industry will not forget.

    There may be valid statistical information to confirm why covering Mental Health conditions is an uninsurable risk but this is hard to understand when it's being readily addressed by Workers Compensation, Income Protection & Health insurers.

    As Brokers we might play a part in explaining the nature & effect of these exclusions to clients. If it's a concern & it's fed back to insurers, they may come up with alternatives. I recall that Flood was treated with the same broad brush approach until recently (and now that it's in place, it's hard to recall what all the fuss was about).

    Where in the business of protecting people from risks & it's a shame that one that's so personal & potentially devastating is being swept under the carpet. Whilst the insurers may have protected their bottom line by utilising an exclusion, it doesn't mean that the risk should be ignored.
  • Underwriter | 28 Nov 2016, 04:06 PM Agree 0
    People need to really look at what type of insurance they are talking about and for what purpose. Working in the corporate area, where there is a "self harm" exclusion, but not necessarily a "mental illness" exclusion is all there is. If a condition is pre-existing, sure it may not be covered. However, there are many instances where such illnesses would be covered. Years ago I was managing two claims concurrently for individuals suffering schizophrenia.
    As an underwriter, sure there are reasons why you don't want to write such risks, but those need to be measured against the overall portfolio. In the leisure travel space, it's been easy enough to just exclude, but that's what the media seems to be focussing on. I don't work in life insurance, so maybe it's an issue there also?
  • Mark.L | 28 Nov 2016, 04:17 PM Agree 0
    This doesn't even scratch the surface of how mental illness is discriminated against in the Life Insurance industry. Good-luck getting income protection with no exclusion or penalties.
  • John | 28 Nov 2016, 05:27 PM Agree 0
    The industry needs to do something about this. I wouldn't get life insurance if I applied through underwriting & answered the questions truthfully, nor would half of my family & friends.
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