Law firm calls for review scheme for police insurance claims

15 April 2015
Law firm Maurice Blackburn, which acts for former NSW police officers, has called for the establishment of a review scheme for former servicemen and women who believe they have been treated unfairly by their insurer Metlife.

The call for a review scheme comes as NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge today released what he called a “roadmap for reform” to support former NSW police with a range of workplace related issues.

Maurice Blackburn senior associate Josh Mennen has welcomed the recommendations for reform, saying they would help officers in need to finalise their legal matters and focus on rebuilding their lives.

But Mr Mennen said given MetLife’s failure to conduct insurance claims in a timely and fair manner, the company should be compelled to offer all past and present claimants a review of their claim files.

“A review scheme would help former police officers determine whether any delay or denial of their disability insurance claims was unreasonable, and whether interest or other compensation should be paid,” he said.

Under the recommendations for reform, limits would be established on the use of covert surveillance by insurance companies, and timeframes set up for the processing of disability insurance claims including the many unresolved claims by the NSW Police’s former disability insurer Metlife Insurance Ltd.

Mr Mennen urged the NSW Government and other stakeholders to support the recommendations, saying they would provide relief to former police officers who had suffered delays of up to five years in their insurance claims.

“Our clients suffered through their work serving the people of NSW, and they need support to recover.  Instead, for many of them, the insurer Metlife has added to their trauma by using invasive surveillance techniques and an aggressive delay or decline attitude to insurance claims.  This needs to change.

“The recommendations included in this roadmap for reform are an important step in the right direction in allowing claimants, including our clients, to put their disputes with the police and Metlife behind them and get on with their lives.”

Mr Mennen said he hoped the recommendations, if adopted, would lead to a reduction in the number of unreasonably disputed claims, and an increase in genuine claimants accessing their entitlements earlier.

“But the devil’s in the detail, and important questions remain, including around how to establish a clear process to ensure police officers are not left out of pocket if they need to repay any police benefits after receiving an insurance settlement.”

The recommendations were developed following a Parliamentary forum in December last year that heard from former police officers, as well as medical and legal experts.

Mr Mennen presented at the December forum on behalf of Maurice Blackburn, alongside one of his clients, a former police officer who was medically discharged after 12 years’ service.