Additional Support for Customers

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Vulnerable customers

Vulnerable customers may have particular requirements due to a range of factors such as age, disability, mental or physical health conditions, family violence, barriers relating to financial situation, language or literacy, cultural background or location.

If you tell us, or we identify, that you may need additional support or assistance due to a vulnerability we will work with you to agree a suitable, sensitive and compassionate way to proceed.

This includes finding a way to make it easier for you to communicate with us or provide information to us.

Family violence

Sunderland Marine is committed to supporting people affected by family violence and treating them with the utmost dignity and respect.

We recognise that family violence means much more than physical violence.  It includes emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial or economic abuse and damage to property.

Our priority is to ensure that whenever family violence is identified or suspected, the safety of the customer affected by family violence and their family is protected and we are committed to supporting you.

Helping customers

We will be flexible and vary our approach based on customers’ individual circumstances, including providing personalised support.

Sunderland Marine can assist customers experiencing family violence by:

  • ensuring safe and confidential communication in light of individual circumstances
  • minimising the number of times information about family violence needs to be disclosed
  • helping to set up new insurance policies
  • helping to arrange access to financial hardship assistance and
  • referral to specialist support services.

Key principles

We will ensure that we:

  • promote and facilitate early recognition of family violence, including signs of distress and controlling behaviour and reluctance to disclose personal information
  • make sure safety is paramount for anyone affected
  • train employees appropriately, in particular on the areas detailed below
  • protect and minimise family violence disclosures
  • ensure appropriate and sensitive claims handling and collection arrangements, including arranging access to financial hardship help where appropriate
  • informing customers, claimants, employees, distributors and service suppliers about relevant information and assistance available to them and referring them to appropriate specialist services
  • support employees and distributors who are affected by family violence
  • provide a copy of this policy to anyone who asks for it.

Our employees

Our employees and third-party providers are trained at appropriate intervals so that they can deal appropriately and sensitively with customers, claimants and colleagues affected by family violence.  Our employees are particularly aware of the need to protect information about family violence and minimise the number of times it needs to be disclosed.

We are committed to training our employees to help them:

  • be aware of and apply our policies and procedures in this area, including our privacy policies
  • escalate any issues appropriately
  • understand if a customer may be vulnerable
  • decide how best, and to what extent, to support a vulnerable customer
  • act flexibly where required to take account of a customer’s particular needs or vulnerability and
  • engage with a vulnerable customer with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion. This may include arranging additional support, for example referral to specialised people or services.

Service Suppliers

Sunderland Marine will ensure that our service suppliers who deal directly with customers, such as loss assessors, are also trained to deal appropriately with cases of family violence.

Privacy

We recognise that ensuring customers’ personal information is kept private and secure is essential in family violence situations.  At all times, we will ensure customers’ personal and sensitive information is treated with confidentiality.  For further information please refer to our Privacy Policy.

Support services

If you or anyone else is danger, please call the police on 000.  There are also free services you can access such as the following:

Agency Telephone Website Services Available
1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732 1800respect.org.au National 24-hour Domestic & Family Violence and Sexual Assault Line.
Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au 24/7 support to people experiencing anxiety or depression.
Kildonan UnitingCare (03) 8401 0100 www.kildonan.org.au

 

24/7 counselling & referral service for people in a crisis situation.
MENSLINE 1300 789 978 mensline.org.au 24/7 support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship issues.
Victoria Legal Aid 1300 792 387 https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

 

An independent not-for-profit community organisation that provides legal and related services to the public, focusing on the disadvantaged and people with special needs.
Legal Aid NSW 1300 888 529 https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

 

Financial counselling is a free, confidential service to assist people in financial difficulty.

Financial hardship

Family violence is relevant to financial hardship because it is a potential cause of payment difficulties and an eligibility criterion for access to financial hardship support.

We will ensure that we and our service providers:

  • fast track a financial hardship request where family violence is or may be involved
  • provide options for the customer to retain their policy if they cannot pay the premium
  • consider how to deal with joint policyholders appropriately
  • minimise the information and documents required
  • do not require an intervention order as evidence of family violence
  • do not involve a third party debt collection agency

There are also other situations when you may find it difficult to meet your financial commitments.  We can help you access support and services when you need them.

If you need support with any of our products or services, please contact us to let us know how we can help you as soon as possible.  If appropriate, we will help you complete a financial hardship application and/or ask you to contact the National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007.

Assessing your request for financial hardship support

We will consider all reasonable evidence, but we will only request information from you if it is reasonably necessary for us to assess your hardship application and will do so in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

We will deal with your request in accordance with the General Insurance Code of Practice.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with our service to you in connection with any aspect of this policy, details of our complaints process are available from here.