Today we are going to be talking about insurance claims. My guest is personal injury lawyer Henry Carus and he is going to talk with us about this topic. So Henry thanks for being here today.
Henry Carus: My pleasure.
Dei Lynam: Henry what are some steps you recommend to protect your income in the event of an injury or illness that effects your ability to work?
Henry Carus: There are two options. One, you could get a personal income protection policy on its own or you can try to see whether your superannuation fund has a provision that allows you to request or elect to have any protection policy as part of that fund.
Dei Lynam: And what is a superannuation fund?
Henry Carus: A Superannuation fund is a commonly provided fund to all employees in Australia. It’s a retirement fund that’s been created by the government to supplement peoples retirement, hopefully so that the government is not so challenged in terms of pension. So it is a private retirement fund supplied mostly by the employer because they are mandatory contributions and there are opportunities for the worker or the employee to add extra funds to that fund.
Dei Lynam: How does one go about lodging an insurance claim in these situations?.
Henry Carus: There is a provision and if you have elected to have an income protection policy or there is extra provision in the superannuation fund for what’s known as total and permanent disability, commonly referred to as TPD, if you have either of those two available to you there is an opportunity for you to put in an insurance claim form requesting that benefit. That aspect of the superannuation fund is actually a separate insurance policy which you have elected to have as part of your fund.
Dei Lynam: Henry can the insurance company be trusted to do the right thing on the injured persons behalf?
Henry Carus: There are two options to looking at that answer. Insurance companies generally are there as a matter of trusting relationships so you would hope that they would honor their trust in that relation between you the client and the insurance company. There have been some recent scandals within the insurance market here in Australia were companies providing income protection have not honored their obligations to the extent that they should, so my opinion without any disrespect, is it can happen that an insurance company does not honor the responsibilities that they have under this arrangement.
Dei Lynam: And does it make financial sense to get a lawyer involved in this type of matter?
Henry Carus: These insurance policies whether for income protection or for total disability can be quite generous, it can provide ongoing support for someone who can’t return to work or it can provide a tremendous amount of compensation by way of a lump sum. We are talking about sometimes a vast amount of money if someone has been injured relatively early in their life, so in my opinion it can’t hurt to get a personal injury lawyer or someone with an insurance background to take a look at these polices to look at the entitlement that you have and what the insurance company should be providing.
Dei Lynam: And Henry if someone has specific questions how can they reach your office?.
Henry Carus: My office is available essentially 24 hours a day. You can get us on the website and you can also call our office and leave a message we are available to assist at any time.
Dei Lynam: Henry thank you for your time today.
Henry Carus: My pleasure.
Dei Lynam: Until next time this is Dei Lynam for Victoria Law TV.