Financial Hardship Policy
This Financial Hardship Policy was last updated 1st October 2021
Financial Hardship Policy
We understand that there are times when circumstances beyond your control can make it difficult to meet all your financial commitments. We strive to support our customers facing Financial Hardship and this policy may help you access support and services that you need.
Our goal in providing assistance is to support our customers and to help minimise the number of consumers who could become uninsured or under-insured due to financial hardship circumstances.
General Insurance Code of Practice
This Financial Hardship Policy applies to retail insurance policies underwritten by Assetinsure Pty Limited. Assetinsure is a subscriber to the General Insurance Code of Practice (Code) and so has obligations to assist our customers in times of Financial Hardship. To find out more you can access the Code at www.codeofpractice.com.au or via the Assetinsure website.
How to apply for Financial Hardship support
Financial Hardship means you have difficulty meeting your financial obligations to us.
If you’re struggling to make payments to us, please let us know by contacting your usual customer contact. This is most likely the people from whom you purchased your policy. But if that is not possible or easy for you, if the financial obligation to us relates to a claim, please contact our Claims Team via email at – email@example.com, or for anything else please call us on +61 2 9251 8055 and we will find the right person to help you.
You do not need to have a claim to call them. They are just the people best placed within Assetinsure to receive your request for financial hardship assistance.
We will likely request certain information from you. When you provide the information, together with relevant supporting documents, we can assess your application and determine the appropriate level of support to provide.
Individuals entitled to support
You may be entitled to support because you are suffering Financial Hardship if you are:
(a) an individual Insured or a Third Party Beneficiary who owes us money – including an excess – under an insurance policy we have issued; or
(b) 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 have internal policies and training appropriate to our Employees’ roles to help them to 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 details about how to apply for Financial Hardship support and, if appropriate, contact details for the National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007.
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:
(a) evidence of serious illness that prevents you from earning income;
(b) evidence of a disability, including a disability caused by mental illness;
(c) if you are a Centrelink client, your Centrelink statements;
(d) evidence of your unemployment; and
(e) If you advise us or we suspect you may be impacted by Family Violence.
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:
- tell you the information we need as early as possible; and
- 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.
Putting recovery on hold
If we are taking action to recover an amount from you, we will put that action on hold if we identify that you are experiencing Financial Hardship, or if you ask us for Financial Hardship support in relation to that amount.
When we put the action on hold, we will contact any Collection Agent or solicitor that we have appointed and tell them the action is on hold.
The action will stay on hold until we have assessed your application for Financial Hardship and notified you of our decision about it.
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:
(a) 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
(b) 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 suited to your circumstances. That could include any one or more of the following , depending on the product type:
(a) connecting with a relevant support service;
(b) ensuring the policy coverage takes full account of your circumstances (such as if now driving less);
(c) paying us in instalments – we will not refuse a reasonable request from you to pay the amount you owe in instalments;
(d) waiving instalment payment loadings, if any
(e) delaying the date on which a payment must be made;
(f) delaying one or more instalment payments, for an agreed period;
(g) paying a reduced lump sum amount;
(h deferred or instalment payments on excess upfront
(i) deducting the excess from the claim amount we pay you.
(j) fast-track a claim
(k) put the recovery of monies on hold
(l) waive cancellation fees
(m) reviewing cover to see if any reductions can reasonably be made.
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.
Releasing your debt
If we decide you are entitled to Financial Hardship support, then you may ask us to release, discharge, or waive a debt or obligation. However, you are not automatically entitled to this.
If we agree to release, discharge, or waive a debt or obligation, then we will confirm this with you in writing.
You can ask us to notify any financial institution with an interest in your insurance policy that you are entitled to Financial Hardship support and, if applicable, that we have released, discharged, or waived a debt or obligation. If you ask us to do this, then we will tell them about this in writing.
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.
Standards for collecting money
We, as well as any Collection Agent or solicitor collecting money for us, will comply with the Debt collection guideline: for collectors and creditors, published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
We, as well as any collection agent or solicitor collecting money for us, are required to:
- understand the Financial Hardship requirements in the Code; and
- receive training to help identify whether you might need Financial Hardship support.
When we, our Collection Agent or solicitor, first communicates with you about any money owed, then we will ensure that this communication will provide you with information to show that the amount we are seeking to recover from you is fair and reasonable. This may include:
(a) information on the relevant loss and/or damage and the claim;
(b) the actual cost of completed repairs; and
(c) the evidence we relied on when we calculated the amount.
This communication will also include:
(a) information about our Financial Hardship process; and
(b) contact details to enable you to contact us to discuss Financial Hardship support or if you have any questions.
If our Collection Agent or solicitor communicates with you about money owed, then that communication will identify us as the insurer that they are acting on behalf of and will specify the nature of our claim against you.
If you tell our Collection Agent or solicitor that you are experiencing Financial Hardship, then they must notify us and give you information in writing about our Financial Hardship process.
If you tell us that you intend to declare bankruptcy, then we will work with you, or your representative, to agree on the amount owed. We will also give you written confirmation of that amount for the purposes of your declaration of bankruptcy.
If we cannot agree on an amount, then we will provide details of our Complaints process in writing.
Access to other information and support
There are free and confidential resources that may be able to provide advice that can help you such as community support and financial counselling services. Some examples are included here to help.
If you require assistance to communicate with us, then perhaps one of the following services may help:
- Immediate phone interpreting – Call: 131 450
- ATIS phone interpreting – Call: 1800 131 450
- Free Interpreting Service – Call: 1300 575 847
- Teletypewriter services (TTYs) – National Relay Service