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Family and Domestic Violence Policy

What is family violence?

In Australian law, ‘family violence’ is defined as: “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family… or causes the family member to be fearful.” Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), section 4AB.

Our commitment to customers impacted by family and domestic violence

  • We are committed to providing support to our customers affected by FDV. Safety is paramount for anyone affected by family violence. We will strive for the early recognition of family violence.
  • We will ensure that our employees have adequate procedures and training in place for identifying, supporting and avoiding harm to customers.
  • We will protect private and confidential information of customers affected by FDV through ensuring we have processes in place to secure this information.
  • We will take all reasonable efforts to minimize the number of times customers need to disclose information about FDV.
  • We will provide assistance to claimants who are affected by FDV including those suffering financial hardship.
  • We will refer customers to specialist FDV services where appropriate.
  • We will engage with a vulnerable customer with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion — this may include arranging additional support, for example, referring the customer to people or services with specialist training and experience.
  • We will ensure appropriate and sensitive claims handling processes for claimants affected by FDV;
  • We will inform our customers, employees, distributors and service suppliers about information and support processes available to assist customers experiencing FDV.

Team Member Support

  • We will support our team affected by FDV and/or experience trauma dealing with customer affected by FDV via a range of support mechanisms including Employee Assistance Programs and appropriate work arrangements.

Family and domestic violence advice and support

1800RESPECTwww.1800respect.org.au or at 1800 737 732 (24 hours)
 

24 hour national sexual assault, FDV counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, FDV and/or sexual assault.

Rape and Domestic Violence Services: https://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/ or at 1800 211 028. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia supports people affected by sexual, domestic or family violence.

National Debt Helpline: https://ndh.org.au or  at 1800 007 007 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Policy, we encourage you to reach out to compliance.au@assurant.com.

Financial Hardship

What is Financial Hardship?

Financial Hardship means you are having difficulty meeting your financial obligations to us. It may be caused by a number of factors, such as change in employment, illness, injury, major natural disasters, unforeseen weather events or health epidemics.

Our commitment to customers impacted by Financial Hardship

If you share with us, or we identify that you are experiencing financial hardship, we will take the time to listen and respond appropriately.

Fast-track a claim

You have a right to ask us to fast-track a claim if you have an urgent financial need.

Where the event (for example, a natural disaster) that caused you to make a claim under your policy also caused you to be in urgent financial need of the benefits you are entitled to under that policy, then we will fast-track both our assessment of your claim and the process we follow to make a decision about your claim.

Financial Hardship support

You may be entitled to support because you are suffering Financial Hardship if you are: 

  1. an individual Insured or a Third Party Beneficiary who owes us money – including an excess – under an insurance policy we have issued; or 
  2. an individual and we are seeking to recover money from you because we believe you caused damage or loss to either an Insured, or a Third Party Beneficiary who we cover under an insurance policy. 

The support that we provide does not include support with paying the premiums under an insurance policy we have issued.  

Identifying people experiencing Financial Hardship

We will have internal policies and training appropriate to our Employees’ roles to help them identify if you are experiencing Financial Hardship and decide how they may be able to provide support to you.

We encourage you or your representative to tell us about your Financial Hardship so that we can work with you to discuss your situation and the options available to support you — otherwise there is a risk that we may not find out about it.

If you tell us, or we identify, that you are experiencing Financial Hardship, we will give you:

  1. details about how to apply for Financial Hardship support; and
  2. if appropriate, contact details for the National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007

National Debt Helpline

If you tell us, or we identify that you are experiencing financial hardship, we may provide contact details for National Debt Helpline. They are a not-for-profit service that helps people tackle their debt problems. Their professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent and confidential service.

National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007
9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday
Website: https://ndh.org.au

Keeping you informed 

We will communicate with you about your application and where possible, we will use your preferred method of communication. 

If we know that you have nominated a representative, then we will keep that person updated about your request for Financial Hardship support, unless you tell us not to.

Assessing your request for Financial Hardship support 

When we are assessing your request for Financial Hardship support, we will consider all reasonable evidence – for example: 

  1. evidence of serious illness that prevents you from earning income; 
  2. evidence of a disability, including a disability caused by mental illness;
  3. if you are a Centrelink client, your Centrelink statements; and
  4. evidence of your unemployment. 

We will request information from you only if it is reasonably necessary for us to assess your application for Financial Hardship support. 

If, after we receive your application for Financial Hardship support, we need more information from you before we can make our decision, then we will: 

  1. tell you the information we need as early as possible; and
  2. be specific about the information we need. 

You have 21 Calendar Days from the date of our request to provide that information to us unless we have agreed to a different timeframe.

Complete and submit your application 

You may download our Financial Hardship Application Form here. Upon completion, submit your supporting documents which evidence your Financial Hardship.

Submit your completed financial hardship application and all supporting information to Customerfeedback@assurant.com

Making our decision

We will tell you in writing of our decision about whether to give you Financial Hardship support within 21 Calendar Days after we receive your application, unless we have asked you to provide us with more information. 

If we do ask you for more information and: 

  1. you provide all information we requested, then within 21 Calendar Days of receiving it we will tell you in writing, our decision about whether to give you Financial Hardship support; or 
  2. you do not provide all information we requested within 21 Calendar Days (or by a later date we agree to), then within 7 Calendar Days of that deadline passing, we will tell you in writing, our decision about whether to give you Financial Hardship support. 

If you are entitled to financial hardship support 

If we decide you are entitled to Financial Hardship support, then we will work with you to implement an arrangement that could include any one or more of the following:

  1. delaying the date on which the payment must be made; 
  2. paying us in instalments – we will not refuse a reasonable request from you to pay the amount you owe in instalments; 
  3. paying a reduced lump sum amount; 
  4. delaying one or more instalment payments, for an agreed period; 
  5. deducting the excess from the claim amount we pay you;
  6. waiving cancellation fees.

We will confirm the agreed arrangement with you. Where possible this will be in your preferred method of communication. If we agree you are entitled to Financial Hardship support, but we are unable to agree about how you can be supported, then we will tell you in writing, about our Complaints process.

If you are not entitled to financial hardship support 

If we decide that you are not entitled to Financial Hardship support, we will tell you the reasons for our decision and about our Complaints process. Where possible, we will tell you this in your preferred method of communication. 

If your circumstances change, then you may re-apply for Financial Hardship support in relation to the amount you owe. However, for any further application you make, it will be at our discretion whether we again put any recovery action on hold. 

Financial Hardship provisions in the General Insurance Code of Practice

For information on all the available Financial Hardship provisions, visit the Insurance Council of Australia website here to download a copy of the current General Insurance Code of Practice