Super fund admits claim after adviser speaks out

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There has been a successful outcome for one of the industry super fund cases which adviser Melinda Houghton spoke out about last week.

Since Wealth Professional covered the story a week ago – about a terminally ill woman whose claim was put on hold until she could provide the fund with company information (which she did not have as a sole trader) – Care Super reassessed the case and admitted the claim.

Houghton was told on Friday the woman’s medical bills will be paid by Care Super within 10 days.

Care Super CEO Julie Lander told Wealth Professional often advisers have more information to act on than them and the fund is happy to work with external advisers in this regard.

“Having read the case raised by Melinda Houghton, I rang her personally last Friday to clarify the circumstances of her client. I concur that the insurer had asked for some information that was not relevant to this member’s claim.

“Unfortunately in this case, claim forms were sent to the member in March 2013 and follow up letters were sent in April with no response being received. This can occur if people are making a recovery. 

“The next we heard was via Ms Houghton who completed the forms on behalf of the member in November 2013. Had the member contacted us directly and explained her current condition, we certainly would have acted speedily.”

CareSuper takes its role in acting in members’ best interests seriously, and pay eligible claims as quickly as possible, Lander said.

While it is a good outcome for this client, Houghton has not heard from the other two super funds that her clients were having difficulty with.

“I have had no contact from AMIST, or from LUCRF. They are clearly not interested in addressing our concerns,” she said.

A client of hers with LUCRF Super increased his life cover from the default to about $440,000. He was subsequently diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away within five months.

“The superfund held up the claim for 12 months saying because he increased his cover he knew he was going to die,” Houghton said.

According to Houghton, it was only when her firm Houghton Strategic Solutions became involved and rang the super fund weekly that the man’s widow and two kids got a pay-out.

A spokesperson from LUCRF Super told Wealth Professional on Tuesday they were investigating the allegations directly and could not comment immediately, but would respond once enquiries were finished.

In the third case, the mother of Houghton’s young client – who like in all three of these cases became a client after finding the fund would not pay out – had made a non-binding nomination of her super and life insurance of 50% to her second husband and 50% to her daughter.

Houghton said the super fund refused to follow the wishes of a dead woman to grant half her super and life insurance to her second husband and half to her daughter, a 22-year-old single mother who badly needs the money.

Australian Meat Industry Superannuation Trust CEO James Thomas told Wealth Professional he had no comment to make about this case.