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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6558


Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 16 October 2002:

(1) For each state, how many insurance policies for household contents for veteran clients are current under the contract with QBE Mercantile Mutual.

(2) What fee has been paid to QBE for each year of its contract.

(3) What other operating costs are incurred by the department over and above the fee to QBE.

(4) For each state: (a) how many claims have been made and paid out; and (b) what was the average value in each of the past 3 years.

(5) For each of the past 3 years, how many claims of fraud have been: (a) claimed; and (b) prosecuted.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's questions:

(1) The number of current QBE/Mercantile Mutual Contents policies held by Defence Service Homes Insurance per State is as follows:

State

Number

New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory

8,526

Queensland/Northern Territory

15,090

Victoria

7,063

Western Australia

5,585

South Australia

4,157

Tasmania

1,345

(2) There is currently in place an agency agreement between Defence Service Homes Insurance (DSHI) and QBE/Mercantile Mutual (QBE/MM). Pursuant to that agreement, DSHI does not pay a fee, however, QBE/MM pay commission to DSHI for every Contents policy placed. The commission is 20% of the gross premium (the policy is underwritten by QBE/MM). The purpose of this arrangement is for DSHI to be able to offer to Veterans a combined Building/Contents cover for their convenience.

(3) See part (2) above.

(4) (a) and (b) As Defence Service Homes Insurance (DSHI) does not underwrite any portion of the Contents Insurance business, it is not appropriate for DSHI to be involved in the management of claims. DSHI is therefore unable to provide specific Contents claims data.

(5) (a) and (b) As per part (4) above, Defence Service Homes Insurance (DSHI) are not privy to information relevant to the management of QBE/Mercantile Mutual (QBE/MM) claims, including allegations of fraudulent claims. However, DSHI are aware of a recent incident of alleged fraud because it involved a DSHI staff member. This matter was investigated by the Department of Veterans' Affairs National Fraud Control Unit (NFCU) and QBE/MM independently. The matter has now been resolved and no criminal charges will be laid.