Supporting our customers, partners and people

Brett Clark

TAL Group CEO &
Managing Director

2020/21 was a year characterised by challenges, uncertainty and resilience as our lives, workplaces and the economy continued to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Against that backdrop, TAL’s Purpose to help Australians live a life filled with choices, options and freedoms – no matter what happens – has never been more important and was a critical point of reference for all of us at TAL.

With health and financial security front of mind, the life insurance industry – along with our partners – has played an essential role in providing millions of Australians with not just protection, but peace of mind and, in 2020, we paid $2.7 billion in claims to 37,228 customers and their families. The claims we pay directly reflects the Purpose we have at TAL, and we are privileged to be able to support our customers and their families when they need us most.

We have continued to evolve and improve the TAL business over the last year, while prioritising the support we provided to our customers, our partners, and our people. I am pleased with the way all the people of TAL have stepped up again to support our customers and partners in the last year, and sincerely thank them for their own efforts and personal resilience.

Supporting our customers through COVID-19

During the early stages of the pandemic, we moved swiftly to enhance our financial hardship assistance for affected customers, providing a broader range of options to help them maintain their cover, and adapting our claims assessment processes to accommodate the impacts of the COVID-19 community restrictions.

We expanded our Wellbeing and Career Support services, making them available to any customer whose wellbeing and employment was impacted by COVID-19.

We also established a COVID-19 Governance Forum, collecting diverse views from across the business, to advise on the ongoing impact of the pandemic, monitor and consider trends in customer experience and claims outcomes, and guide our approach to continually enhancing that experience for our customers during a challenging and unpredictable time.

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Supporting our partners in a changing industry landscape

Over 5000

advisers and their support staff supported through the TAL Risk Academy, providing

over 25000

accredited Continuing Professional Development hours

Over the last year, we have continued to focus on making meaningful contributions in the way we work with our partners, industry bodies and regulators, including through our involvement with important industry initiatives such as the industry-wide Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance (ANZIIF) Professional Standards Framework, the second iteration of the Life Insurance Code of Practice, and the Choice and Access to Life Insurance (CALI) research.

Both the financial advice and superannuation sectors have experienced considerable change of their own recently. Supporting our partners through this change has been a priority, while advocating for continued, and in some cases improved, choice and access for Australians to high-quality life insurance products and services. This continues to be an important area of focus for us at TAL and the industry more broadly.

As part of those efforts, we also continue to prioritise the role we can play in supporting both financial advisers and our superannuation fund partners, as they navigate changes in their own industries. Through our industry leading education program, TAL Risk Academy, we supported more than 5,000 advisers and their support staff, providing over 25,000 accredited Continuing Professional Development hours to support their learning across TAL’s 2020 financial year.

As we look towards the future, an important priority for the life insurance industry continues to be ensuring our industry is operating sustainably for the long term, to give our customers, partners and stakeholders confidence that we will be here to deliver on our commitments now and also far into the future.

In the coming year, significant changes will be made to Individual Disability Income Insurance (IDII) products, as they are remodelled to address unsustainable industry losses and to better reflect the income protection needs of customers in a contemporary society. As part of these changes, it is important that income protection products get benefits in the hands of customers who need them as quickly as possible, and also ensuring the products are accessible and affordable for all customers.

This is essential industry work that we must get right to ensure we meet our long-term obligations to customers, that our products remain good value, and that as an organisation we remain focused on TAL’s Ambition: ensuring our customers understand and value the protection they have and are confident we will be there when they need us most.

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Continuing our commitment to better health

We continue to innovate in the ways we help our customers to lead their healthiest lives – physically, mentally, and financially – through a combination of internal capability and partnerships with external health providers. This extends to advocating for the role of life insurers in supporting customers’ health before, during and after any claim as part of a life insurers full relationship with their customers.

In November 2020, TAL released a white paper aimed at stimulating stakeholder and life insurance industry discussions on mental health support, mental health policy, and the role the life insurance industry can play in supporting and engaging Australians who experience mental health conditions. We shared this white paper with our partners and key government stakeholders, resulting in positive engagement with both, which we intend to continue to develop.

Our online preventative health tool, Headlight, which we developed to help our customers navigate their mental wellbeing, was extended to eight of our superannuation fund partners to support members who had accessed their superannuation through the COVID-19 Superannuation Early Release Scheme, or members who were identified as possibly financially distressed.

Our commitment to raising awareness of the importance of preventative health has also continued through TAL SpotChecker. Now in its fifth year, we have maintained our focus on educating Australians about the importance of skin safety by encouraging conversations about the benefits of early detection, and the importance of both self-checking and getting regular professional skin checks.

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Making a bigger difference

Employer of Choice

for Gender Equality for seven consecutive years: Commonwealth Workplace Gender Equality Agency

Our role in the broader community is also important to us, and in 2020 we celebrated the TAL Community Foundation’s fifth birthday, reflecting on the positive contribution TAL and our people have been able to make within the community during that time through the support of our valued community partners.

We were delighted to extend our partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for a further three years, continuing to provide financial support to help enable the provision of life-improving medical services and expertise to remote and regional Australians when they need it most.

TAL is a signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment through our business operations and the investments we make for the benefit of all communities. Through that framework we have taken steps to assess our carbon footprint and embed Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations within our business.

And importantly, aligned to our long standing focus on diversity and inclusion, we were honored to be recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace for Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for the seventh year in a row and a total of nine years overall.

Employer of Choice

for Gender Equality for seven consecutive years: Commonwealth Workplace Gender Equality Agency

As I reflect on a year of considerable change and challenge, I am proud of the role that TAL has played across each of these areas, and feel privileged that we have been able to support our customers, partners, people and the community during these extraordinary times.

Brett Clark

TAL Group CEO &
Managing Director
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Brett Clark

TAL Group CEO &
Managing Director