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Class action alleges QSuper overcharged life premiums

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Plaintiff law firm Shine Lawyers has filed a class action in the Federal Court on behalf of QSuper’s members, alleging the Brisbane-based fund may have “unfairly overcharged” them life premiums.

Class Actions Practice Leader Joshua Aylward says the superannuation fund’s conduct resulted in significant financial loss for up to 140,000 members.

The fund is accused of breaching its obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) by failing to notify its members of changes to premiums.

“QSuper changed their life insurance policy on [July 1] 2016 and failed to adequately notify its members of how to get cheaper premiums,” Mr Aylward said.

“Significantly, most of the fund members impacted are Queensland Government employees and their spouses, teachers and health industry workers like doctors and psychiatrists.”

Shine Lawyers says white collar workers were charged the same increased premiums despite not having the same risk-factors present in their lines of work.

“It's incredibly disappointing that essential workers serving our community at all hours are those taken advantage of by this super fund,” Mr Aylward said.

A spokesman for QSuper told the fund “has no comment on a matter [that is] before the courts”.

Shine Lawyers says its actions against QSuper follow an earlier dispute with a fund member who complained to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) that he had overpaid premiums for death and total and permanent impairment cover he had acquired through his super fund.

AFCA ruled in August 2019 in favour of the complainant. The dispute was sparked by the complainant’s discovery that he was – and had been – eligible to pay a lower premium during the period from July 1 2016 and to December 2018 on the basis that he fell within the fund’s new “professional” occupational rating.

QSuper introduced the new occupational rating in July 2016.

The fund appealed unsuccessfully in the Federal Court against the AFCA ruling on grounds that the dispute-handling body “exercised an impermissible exercise of judicial power” when it decided a complainant should be refunded for overpaid life policy premiums.

Click here for the Federal Court ruling made in April last year.