Government announces exception for opt-in insurance measure
The government has announced that members in certain occupations will be excluded from its proposal to make insurance an opt-in arrangement for members with low balances or those below age 25.
In an address to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said that while the Senate committee recommended that the Protecting Your Superannuation Package bill be passed without amendment, the government has decided to make an exception for new members in dangerous occupations.
“The government has heard from stakeholders that workers in dangerous occupations are likely to benefit from default insurance in superannuation, as they may face barriers to accessing insurance elsewhere,” said Mr Stuart.
“Therefore, the government has decided to make available an exception to the opt‑in changes for new members in prescribed dangerous occupations, such as police officers, truck drivers, farmers or concreters, who are under 25 years old or have an active low balance account, where trustees elect to apply it.”
In determining which occupations will be considered dangerous for the purpose of the exception, Mr Robert said the government will consider risks across all occupations and will consult publicly, in the time available, on the exempt occupations.
Mr Robert said the opt-in measures for insurance in super were important as Australians “should not be defaulted into insurance they did not ask for, cannot claim on, or which is significantly beyond what they need”.
“Importantly, under the government’s amendments, fund members will still have the opportunity to opt-in to insurance cover if they decide it is appropriate for their circumstances,” he said.
“Further to that, funds will be required to provide adequate disclosure to affected members so they are made aware of the changes, how they will impact on them, and how they can opt-in to keep existing insurance arrangements in place.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.