Former PAA Chair Weighs in on Insurance Claim Media Coverage


Professional Advisers Association Former Chairperson, Bruce Cortesi, has renewed his earlier concerns on the portrayal of an insurance claims case by consumer affairs television programme, Fair Go, aired in May this year.

Cortesi spoke with RiskinfoNZ this week, following the recent public declaration of support from Chatswood Consulting’s, Russell Hutchinson, for Cortesi’s original objection to the treatment of the insurance claim coverage by the Fair Go programme (see: Industry Stakeholder Slams Biased Coverage of Insurance Claim…).

Cortesi wrote an open letter of complaint following Fair Go’s coverage, involving an insurance claim which was declined due to non-disclosure, and recently posted the programme’s response to his letter on LinkedIn.

PAA Former Chairperson, Bruce Cortesi

He said the biggest issue he had with the coverage of the case was that there was no mention of the benefits of using an adviser or in getting advice.

In his letter, he explained how the services of an adviser could help reduce the risk of non-disclosure incidents and how Fair Go should have included this in their coverage.

“They did not communicate this to viewers” said Cortesi. “Instead they focused on a review of the insurance contracts law was appropriate but that’s not going to fix it.”

…there was no mention of the benefits of using an adviser or in getting advice…

He said there may be aspects of insurance contract law due for a review because it has been around for a long time but he doesn’t think it will fix the problem of non-disclosure.

“It could cause some further conflict,” he said, adding that at this stage, the industry has to start the conversation of the value of getting advice and seeking the help of an adviser at the application stage so that advisers can step in when a consumer may underestimate the importance of details contained in their medical history.

He referred to non-disclosure statistics of one insurer which he said had paid $339 million in claims over one year and the percentage of claims declined due to non-disclosure of that total was around 2%.

He said based on these statistics, non-disclosure related matters are far from being a major problem.

“The critical thing of where we are now is looking at promoting the benefits of getting advice – we have to start getting public media in that same space which was the whole attempt of these letters – to acknowledge that ‘you should go and get advice’.”

He added there is no focus on the good cases and the good outcomes that advisers achieve.

“There are a lot of positives that advisers are doing out there and yet consumers still don’t understand the value of getting advice,” Cortesi said.

Cortesi’s open letter received a raft of supportive comments from advisers on social media platforms which he said he was humbled by but also encourages advisers to speak up.