West­pac hit with life in­sur­ance class ac­tion

The Gympie Times - - NEWS NATION -

WEST­PAC is be­ing sued for al­legedly over­charg­ing life in­sur­ance pol­i­cy­hold­ers, in a claim that could hit

$100 mil­lion.

The case has been filed by Shine Lawyers in the Fed­eral Court and al­leges the bank took ad­van­tage of cus­tomers through re­fer­rals to West­pac fi­nan­cial plan­ners who rou­tinely signed cus­tomers up for more ex­pen­sive West­pac life in­sur­ance prod­ucts.

Jan Sad­dler from Shine says cus­tomers were charged 4.5% more for the West­pac pack­ages than if they ob­tained the same in­sur­ance else­where.

“We be­lieve West­pac took ad­van­tage of its re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers to boost its bot­tom line by sign­ing clients up to their own in-house in­sur­ance, which they knew was more ex­pen­sive,” Ms Sad­dler said.

The charges, paid since 2010, could in­volve tens of thou­sands of cus­tomers.

“The bank and fi­nan­cial plan­ners have an obli­ga­tion to act in the best in­ter­ests of their clients. In this case West­pac has abused its pow­ers and the trust of cus­tomers,” she said.

Cus­tomers who re­ceived fi­nan­cial ad­vice and life in­sur­ance since 2010 might be en­ti­tled to join the ac­tion and re­cover com­pen­sa­tion if they re­ceived fi­nan­cial ad­vice from a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor of West­pac, BT, St Ge­orge Bank, Bank of Mel­bourne or BankSA, and ob­tained a life in­sur­ance pol­icy from one of those out­lets as a re­sult of that ad­vice.

Ms Sad­dler said the ac­tion would seek to re­turn mil­lions of dol­lars to cus­tomers of “an in­sti­tu­tion they en­trusted to act in their in­ter­ests”.

PHOTO: AAP

COURT LOOMS: West­pac faces a class ac­tion.

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