Advisers and medical notes play an important role when it comes to non-disclosure complaints, says Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO), Karen Stevens.
Stevens said advisers can educate their clients about their duty of disclosure, the consequences of non-disclosure and the value of medical notes.
“We’re pleased the law around non-disclosure is finally being looked at as part of the insurance contract law review,” said Stevens.
“Legislation to bring us into line with Australian and UK law would help protect people who unintentionally leave out information when they apply for insurance, and we would welcome that change.”
However, the IFSO reports that non-disclosure complaints are the biggest issue in complaints relating to risk insurance, with 22 out of 75 (or 29%) complaints relating to non-disclosure.
“Complaints can create positive change if we learn from them, and that’s the real value we add for our members,” said Stevens. “We put a lot of work into training and professional development for industry, and education for consumers. The idea is to help advisers help their clients avoid future issues, and ultimately to prevent future complaints.”
She added many people don’t understand what material information means or how dire the consequences of non-disclosure can be.
“Advisers can do a lot to educate their clients in this space. We think the best approach is to encourage clients to get their full medical records from their GP, and to refer back to their records when completing their application,” explained Stevens.