Vulnerable Customers Policy

AuditCover adheres to the General Insurance Code of Practice for the purpose of setting internal policies and training to understand and support customers and others who are experiencing vulnerability, including people affected by family violence. 

AuditCover is committed to taking extra care with customers who experience vulnerability and supporting Insurers to do the same. AuditCover recognises that a person’s vulnerabilities can give rise to unique needs, and that their needs can change over time and in response to particular situations. 

This Vulnerable Customers Policy sets out how AuditCover will identify, and support people who experience vulnerability, including people affected by family violence. 

The objectives of this Policy are to: 

  • Set out the framework and processes to identify, support and help minimise the risk of harm in interactions with vulnerable customers; 

    • Ensure AuditCover provides timely, consistent and targeted assistance to those affected by family violence; and

    •  AuditCover Employees: 

      • Understand if a person may be vulnerable; 
      • Decide about how best, and to what extent, AuditCover can support people with vulnerabilities; 
      • Take account of particular needs or vulnerabilities; and 
      • Engage with people with vulnerabilities with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion — this may include arranging additional support, for example referral to people, or services, with specialist training and experience. 

For the purposes of this Policy, ‘customer’ means an individual insured, a third- party beneficiary, a potential customer or an individual that an Insurer is seeking to recover money from. 

This Policy applies to Retail Insurance products only.

AuditCover Partners 

AuditCover will develop and implement policies to support customers and others who are experiencing vulnerability, including people affected by family violence: 

AuditCover partners will publish on their website and in any branches, an up-to-date list of assistance and referrals (internal or external) available to customers affected by family violence and how customers may access such assistance. If asked, AuditCover  should direct customers to the appropriate client website to obtain a copy of their policy. 

AuditCover Responsibilities 

Customers affected by family violence need to be able to quickly access information about the policies they hold, the claims process and the support available to them. 

AuditCover will work with and support its clients to: 

  • Ensure that safety is paramount for anyone affected by family violence; 
  • Provide training to Employees to recognise family violence and improve responses to someone affected by family violence; Protect the privacy of customers affected by family violence; 
  • Minimise the number of times a customer affected by family violence needs to disclose information about family violence; Ensure appropriate and sensitive claims handling processes for customers affected by family violence; Ensure collection arrangements are handled sensitively; 
  • Arrange access to Financial Hardship help; 
  • Inform customers, employees, distributors and service suppliers about information and assistance available to people experiencing family violence; 
  • Refer customers, employees and distributors to specialist services; and 
  • Support employees and distributors who
  • experience trauma after serving affected customers. 

How do we know if a client is Vulnerable? 

A person’s vulnerability may be due to a range of factors such as: 

  1. age; 
  2. disability; 
  3. mental health conditions; 
  4. physical health conditions; 
  5. family violence; 
  6. language barriers; 
  7. literacy barriers; 
  8. cultural background; 
  9. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status; 
  10. remote location; or 
  11. financial distress. 

This is not an exhaustive list. AuditCover employees keep an open mind about what constitutes vulnerability. Each customer has their own unique story, which is personal to them and can be very sensitive. To help support our customers, our communication or service needs to be tailored depending on their individual needs and circumstances. 

Some examples may include; 

  • Elderly customers who may be hearing or sight impaired or need extra time; 
  • Loss of employment for our customer or family member; 
  • Family breakdown; 
  • Illness, including physical incapacity, hospitalisation, or mental illness of the customer or family member; A customer who may be experiencing domestic violence; or 
  • A death in the family. 

AuditCover employees take the necessary measures to make service interactions a positive experience, which is guided, prompt, and respectful. 

How does AuditCover provide support? 

You can contact us to discuss in a safe and empathic environment. 

If our customer tells us, or we identify, that due to a vulnerability that the customer needs additional support or assistance, we will work with the customer and try to find a suitable, sensitive and compassionate way for us to proceed. We will do this as early as practicable and we will protect the customer’s right to privacy. 

If our customer tells us, or we identify, that our customer needs additional support from someone else (for example, a lawyer, consumer representative, interpreter or friend), then we will recognise this and allow for it in all reasonable ways. We will try to make sure our processes are flexible enough to recognise the authority of the customer’s support person. 

Additional support may include making it easier for our customer to communicate with us, referring our customer to a financial counsellor or an appropriate community support service. 

Training 

As the broker in a broader insurance value chain, AuditCover will align as appropriate to its Insurer’s policies. AuditCover may assign employees, who can:

  • Act as a referral point to support employees and suppliers or subcontractors in managing vulnerable customers; 
  • Provide coaching to employees in vulnerable customer management best practice; and 
  • Act as an escalation point, where customers require management by an employee, supplier or sub- contractor with specialised training. 

AuditCover will train employees to assist them to: 

  • Understand if a customer may be vulnerable; 
  • Decide about how best, and to what extent, they can support a vulnerable customer; 
  • Understand how to record and flag vulnerable customers in the policy administration or CRM system; 
  • Understand how to take account of a customer’s particular needs or vulnerability; 
  • Understand how to 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. 
  • Understand how to protect private and confidential, and personal information of customers affected by family violence; 
  • Understand how to minimise the number of times customers affected by family violence need to disclose information about family violence; 
  • Understand how to help claimants who are affected by family violence — 

including those suffering Financial Hardship; 

  • Understand how to refer customers to specialist family violence services, where appropriate; and 
  • Understand how to support employees who are affected by family violence or who experience vicarious trauma after dealing with customers affected by family violence. 

Reporting & Escalations 

AuditCover systems, policy and complaint files, along with all other relevant records are maintained as follows: 

  • Vulnerability cases to be recorded in AuditCover’s policy admin or CRM system, including the recording of vulnerability type. 
  • Customer data, inclusive of vulnerability, to be managed in accordance with AuditCover Privacy Policy. 

Unless instructed by a client otherwise, if AuditCover  employees are notified of or identify a vulnerable customer, they must: 

  • Record relevant information on the client file; 
  • Notify the client as early as possible, however no later than within 2 business days; and 
  • Escalate to the client as per their procedures for them to manage any client communications and referrals. 

The notification should include: 

  • The date the vulnerability was disclosed or discovered; 
  • How the vulnerability was disclosed or discovered; 
  • The type/s of vulnerability; 
  • Details of any support or special requirements requested by the vulnerable customer; and 
  • Having knowledge of the file and the customer, any recommendations they made in responding to the vulnerable customer. 

Note: If a customer is distressed and says that they are not coping and suggest or say they may harm themselves, the following actions must be taken: 

  • If the customer is in immediate danger call Emergency Services (000 in Australia and 111 In NZ) 
  • Escalate the call to the client’s Care teams or our internal Leaders trained in dealing with these call types. They can then provide the customer with information from the Resource Services and Referral Contacts 
  • Suggest the customer appoints a support person to assist in the management of their claim. 
  • Seek advice from internal escalations points or clients. 

Details of all notifications and offers of support for vulnerable clients are recorded within and saved to client specific share-point registers. These registers are made available to both internal consultants, leaders and managers. 

AuditCover will periodically review and improve this Policy and its associated processes and procedures. For more information, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

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