Total and permanent disability (TPD) cover has suffered a lot of bad press recently.
These products were found to be the least likely to pay out in a recent ASIC study of life insurance policies, with 16 per cent of claims rejected.
Insurers have also been accused of delaying payouts for claimants, particularly those that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health disabilities.
But how long can you typically expect to wait for a decision after making a TPD claim?
When everything goes according to plan
Most insurers should resolve claims within two to three months of receiving the relevant forms and documentation from medical practitioners.
This can seem like a long time if you have no other sources of income, but try to be patient in the initial stages while your claim is being assessed. However, you should request an update if you’ve not received an answer within this timeframe.
The best way to quicken the process is to ensure you carefully follow any instructions provided for pursuing TPD benefits.
Missing documentation or errors in your claim can cause significant delays at a time when your finances could be suffering.
Advisers criticise delays in claims
Even the most diligent claimants can encounter problems. Recent research from Adviser Ratings revealed that the biggest complaint that financial advisers have regarding insurance claims is the length of time the process takes.
Respondents said TPD cover delays were the biggest issue, as quick turnaround times are especially important for this type of insurance.
Hannover (Real) was voted the worst provider at resolving TPD claims, with the net proportion of satisfied financial advisers standing at -42 per cent. Zurich had the least number of negative responses, although Asteron Life was voted the best insurer by a larger number of advisers.
How can I expedite my claim?
If your TPD claim is taking several months or even years to resolve, you can contact a lawyer to help you obtain a quicker decision. This approach is also an option if your initial claim was rejected and you disagree with the outcome.
The threat of legal action can be enough to spur the insurer into action. If not, an experienced TPD claims lawyer can gather evidence on your behalf and begin court proceedings.
A successful claim will not only result in a lump sum payment, but also the insurer is likely to be ordered to pay your legal costs plus interest.