On 12 October 2017, Shine Lawyers commenced a class action on behalf of persons (including superannuation funds) who have obtained insurance issued by Westpac Life on the recommendation of financial advisers at Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA or BT Advice.
What is the class action about?
Since at least October 2011, such customers have been routinely charged higher premiums that persons who obtained identical insurance issued by Westpac Life on the recommendation of independent financial advisers.
The class action claims that Westpac should not have preferred its own interests at the expense of those customers, and that they should be compensated for the excess premiums.
Am I covered by the class action?
You are likely to be entitled to be compensated for paying such excess premiums if:
- at any time after 12 October 2011,
- you obtained insurance issued by Westpac Life,
- on the recommendation of a financial adviser at Westpac, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA or BT Advice.
Click here to register your interest (no-cost, no obligation).
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Common questions about Westpac Class Action
We expect that between 30,000 and 40,000 Australians have been negatively impacted.
Westpac, BT, St George, Bank of SA and Bank of Melbourne customers who were advised to take out life insurance may be part of the class.
If you wish to register your interest in joining the Westpac Class Action, simply click the ‘Register Now’ button at the top of the page and fill out the simple web form.
Once you have registered your interest via the ‘Register Now’ button, you can send any documents you have (e.g. policy documents, correspondence and/or Statements of Advice received) to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please place your name in the subject line.
Alternatively, you can post copies (not the originals) to the following address:
Westpac Class Action
C/- Shine Lawyers
PO Box 12011
George Street QLD 4003
It costs you nothing to join the class action.
The legal fees are being paid in part (80% of work in progress and 100% of disbursements) by litigation funder JustKapital Pty Ltd. In relation to 20% of its work in progress, Shine Lawyers is speculating those costs on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. This means that Shine Lawyers does not get paid this part of its costs unless the proceedings are successful.
Group members will have no liability for legal costs if the class action is unsuccessful.
JustKapital Pty Ltd has also agreed to meet any adverse costs order, in the event the proceedings are unsuccessful. In that case, neither the lead applicants nor any group members will have liability for costs.
It is usually the case in Australia that if a party is successful, that part of the costs and disbursements will be paid to them by the unsuccessful party. If the class action is successful and a judgment of damages is awarded to the group members, the costs and fees paid by the funder in order to bring the proceedings to a successful outcome will be deducted from the amount of damages received from the defendants. The final legal costs will depend on the amount of work required to resolve the claim.
In return for funding the action, the litigation funder expects to receive, after reimbursement of all disbursements and expenses paid, 30% of the total damages awarded.
It is impossible at this stage to provide any specific figure that each group member can expect to receive. This is due to a variety of factors.
The amount each group member will receive will depend on the premiums they have paid on their life insurance policy for the period they held the policy or policies that are the subject of the litigation. We have found that the average overcharge is 4.5% per annum. However, these figures may differ on a case by case basis.
Our legal team is confident that the case has strong merits. However, litigation is inherently risky and it is not possible to predict the outcome, or how long the case will take.
Due to the size of each individual claim, the costs of running this action as an individual would quickly exceed the potential damages recoverable.
As each class member’s claim involves many common questions of fact and law, running this action as a class reduces the average cost of litigation to a client by only addressing the common issues once at trial, instead of multiple times.
Jan has worked for one of the largest commercial law firms in Australia, where she was involved in a number of class actions and multi-party disputes. She has also worked at one of the largest global professional services firms, as an in-house lawyer running and managing disputes involving claims worth more than $250 million.
Click here for more information on Shine Lawyers’ Class Action expertise.