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Westpac settles life insurance class action

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Westpac Group says it has reached an agreement with Shine Lawyers to settle a class action relating to premiums for life insurance policies that were sold between 2011 and 2017 “without any admission of liability”.

The financial settlement is capped at $30 million and is subject to approval from the Federal Court, the business says in a brief investor release last week to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The group has resolved this matter without any admission of liability,” Westpac Group said.

The lawsuit launched in October 2011 by Shine Lawyers alleges “tens of thousands” of customers who bought life insurance products on the recommendation of Westpac-owned financial advisers paid higher premiums for the same policies available from independent planners.

According to Shine Lawyers, Westpac and its businesses - St George, Bank of Melbourne and BT - charged either “4.3% and/or 9.09% more” for the policies they sold to affected customers.

“We encourage all those customers of Westpac, St George, Bank of Melbourne and BT who obtained life insurance in the period between 2011 and 2017 to register with Shine Lawyers to ensure they are included in the settlement,” Shine Lawyers Head of Class Actions Jan Saddler said.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of our negotiations.”

Shine Lawyers says customers who received financial advice and obtained life insurance from a Westpac financial planner after February 21 2011 may be entitled to receive compensation if they:

  • received financial advice from a financial adviser of Westpac, BT, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA; and
  • obtained a life insurance policy from Westpac, BT, St George Bank, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA as a result of that advice.