Tech expert pinpoints insurance snag for SMSFs
SMSFs that have money left inside APRA-regulated fund accounts for insurance purposes have been warned that the recent measures announced around insurance in super may require them to take action to avoid losing their cover.
As part of the budget announcements, the government unveiled plans to move insurance in superannuation from a default framework to one offered on an opt-in basis for those members with low balances of less than $6,000, members under the age of 25 years and members whose accounts have not received a contribution in 13 months and are inactive.
Colonial First State executive manager Craig Day explained that currently if an employee doesn’t make a choice to choose a particular superannuation fund, they go into the employer's default fund.
“A number of years ago the rules were changed to basically require opt out insurance cover. So what happened with that is you saw lots of people moving around and ending up with lots of accounts with lots of duplicated insurance policies sitting in them,” said Mr Day.
This latest announcement which is aimed at addressing this issue, he said, will mean that where a fund is inactive for more than 13 months the insurance will be turned off, which could impact SMSFs.
“Where you've got someone that's set up an SMSF that's perhaps in their 40s and they've already got life and disability insurance inside a large fund, it's not uncommon for them to leave $20,000 sitting inside that large fund and then roll over the balance to commence an SMSF and then redirect their employer contributions into their SMSF,” he explained.
“[Since], you’ve got no employer contributions going to that fund under these new rules there's a risk that it could be deemed to become inactive and therefore that insurance policy could be cancelled unless you take action to make sure that it doesn't get cancelled.”
Under these proposed rules, members could redirect employer contributions back into that account to prevent this but that may not be appropriate for their arrangements.
“The other thing that people will have the option to do is to opt into that insurance cover. So they'll have 14 months to do that and so once you've opted in to say that you want to keep it in that large fund then that will just ensure that that insurance stays in place,” he said.
“That is something the members will need to do and if they miss that, then they could actually risk losing insurance cover.”
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.