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Call to review 'grossly unfair' insurance policies

11 Jul 2019

Cancer survivors are among those calling on insurers to review all policies that exclude coverage for health conditions to ensure that they comply with the law.

They would also like to see changes in the way claims are handled for people living with a range of health conditions.

A report published today finds that two thirds of people surveyed and affected by health conditions reported difficulties obtaining insurance.

The Health Conditions and Insurance Project was funded by Legal Aid NSW to better understand the experience of people living with health conditions when accessing general and life insurance products.

The project involved a survey of 281 people with health conditions and experience with insurance, a literature review, consultation with consumer and industry representatives, and analysis of case law, legislation and codes of practice.

Insurers must comply with obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act if they want to refuse insurance cover or put additional requirements on people with health conditions. If insurers don’t pay attention to the act, then treating someone differently might be unlawful discrimination.

National Legal Aid chair, and Legal Aid NSW CEO, Brendan Thomas says he hopes to improve access to insurance for people with a range of health conditions.

“Our recommendations are directed to both preventing discrimination against people with health conditions, and ensuring that people with health conditions and problems with insurance are aware of their options for redress,” he said.

“Insurance is an important way of managing the risk of unexpected economic loss that can occur as a result of unforseen events.

“If access to insurance for people living with disability or health conditions is impeded, they have a greater risk of poverty.”

Chair Cancer Voices NSW, Elisabeth Kochman, said the issue of access to insurance was an area of increasing concern to people affected by cancer, and other health conditions.

“We look forward to advancing the cause for accessible, affordable, hassle free insurance for people living with cancer and other health conditions, in collaboration with other key stakeholders,” she said.

Media Contact: William Verity (02) 9213 5669 or 0436 610 649