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Ripped off by your insurer? You may only have a small window to bring a claim for compensation


If an insurer has denied or underpaid a claim from 1 January 2008, you may only have until 30 June 2020 to try to recover your loss. After this date, AFCA (the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) will no longer accept what are known as “legacy complaints”.

Have an insurance complaint? Read on to find out what legacy complaints are and the legal avenues that are available to you if your insurer has wrongly denied or underpaid a claim.

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry brought to light the concerning degree of conduct towards individuals or organisations with insurance policies (insureds) that has been prevalent amongst some insurance companies for many decades.

Sadly, at Shine Lawyers we have seen countless instances of insurers going to great lengths to denying or underpaying legitimate insurance claims.

Insurance complaint time limits

If an insurer denies or underpays a claim, a claim may be pursued against the insurer by lodging it with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) or in court. An aggrieved insured usually has six years from the date the claim was denied or underpaid to lodge their claim in court or with AFCA; once this time limitation expires, the claim can no longer be pursued.

However, in light of the findings of the Royal Commission, since 1 July 2019, AFCA has been accepting what are known as “legacy complaints”.

What are legacy complaints?

Legacy complaints are claims lodged with AFCA for conduct going back as far as 1 January 2008.

The opportunity to make a legacy complaint means that victims whose claims have been wrongly denied or underpaid now have the opportunity to submit their claim and seek legal and financial remedy even if they would normally be outside the 6 year insurance complaint time limit.

What are my options if I’ve been ripped off by my insurer as far back as 2008?

Those that have been wrongly denied or underpaid a claim by their insurer on or after 1 January 2008 have a small window of opportunity to pursue a legacy complaint.

If you’ve been denied or underpaid a claim under a life insurance or general insurance policy you are encouraged to seek legal advice. AFCA accepts complaints in respect of most types of insurance policies, including (but not limited to):

  • domestic insurance, such as home and contents or car insurance
  • travel and ticket insurance
  • pet insurance
  • sickness and accident insurance
  • strata title insurance
  • medical indemnity insurance
  • life insurance such as income protection as well as funeral, trauma, total and permanent disability (TPD), accidental death and endowment policies
  • small business insurances including farm insurance.

If you are considering whether or not to lodge an insurance complaint, you should do so well before the deadline of 30 June 2020.

Shine Lawyers has helped hundreds of deserving Australians access their full entitlements under their insurance policies.

If you think you may have a legacy complaint, you are encouraged get in touch with us as soon as possible to discuss your situation to ensure you don’t lose the opportunity to pursue your claim by the 30 June 2020 deadline.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: May 22, 2020.

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