Insurer set private investigator on woman

Irving Hamilton
September 16, 2018

The Royal Commission into the financial sector has discovered more horrifying behaviour from some of our largest institutions, with one company hiring a private investigator to discover a way to stop paying a claim.

An ombudsman forced TAL to overturn its initial move to cancel the policy in 2012, after it wrongly accused her of having a history of work-related stress and failing to disclose it when she applied for the insurance.

The investigator's report included details and footage of the woman having breakfast, kissing her partner and taking her clothes off to reveal her bathers at a swimming pool.

TAL paid a private investigator $20,000 to find information that they could use to avoid paying the woman nearly $800,000.

TAL executive Loraine van Eeden today accepted insurer's mistreatment of claimant for eight years.

Senior Counsel assisting the Commission, Rowena Orr QC, introduced evidence suggesting that a key performance indicator (KPI) for senior case managers was declining claims, contending that this was "a driver for the poor conduct" observed in this round of hearings.

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"The fact that you can't comment on it leads me to infer that you, being the witness put forward by TAL, that is their expectation when I see in the 2015 documents that that is the way in which people were awarded after these events", Hayne said.

The inquiry heard a TAL case manager rejected the medical warnings, saying she had a lot of surveillance of the woman "and by no means is her condition life-threatening".

In 2014, TAL told the woman it was again cancelling her income protection cover as she no longer met the definition for total disability or partial disablement under the policy.

They were not the only shocks in the letter, which was also the first time TAL revealed its surveillance to the woman.

He said the woman's level of suspicioun, feelings of oppression, loss of trust and social withdrawal had worsened considerably and she was permanently unfit for work.

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