Insurer set private investigator on woman

Banking royal commission: Insurer TAL hired private investigator to find dirt on woman after being forced to pay her insurance claim

The commission also heard TAL cancelled a different customer's income protection cover after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, saying she failed to disclose a prior history of depression.

The case manager wanted the private investigator to find information so TAL could avoid paying an estimated A$792,000 if the woman continued receiving benefits until she was 65.

TAL's Loraine van Eeden admitted TAL's actions in fighting the former nurse's insurance claim over eight years had caused stress and anguish.

The woman had no idea a private investigator was following her, taking photos and videos of her and recording her every move, the banking royal commission heard on Thursday.

It took her three years to start receiving her $2750 monthly benefit, in 2013.

TAL general manager, Loraine Van Eeden, said that she could not comment on that suggestion, "as I do not see any rewarding or benefits paid to people based on this [declining claims]".

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TAL then forced the woman to fill out a daily activity diary so she could continue receiving her benefits, despite medical evidence that it exacerbated her condition and she was suffering severe anxiety attacks.

Ms van Eeden has agreed the strategy to reject the claim was misleading.

On Friday, it emerged that TAL hired an external "strategic consultancy firm" as part of a campaign to - in the words of Ms Orr - "find a way to stop paying this insured benefits".

In 2014, TAL told the woman it was again cancelling her income protection cover as she no longer met the definition for total disability or partial disablement under the policy.

Orr validly questioned whether Van Eeden, whom TAL had "assured the Commission was the best person" to speak on the issues being addressed, could in fact provide answers to the inquiry.

He said the woman's level of suspicioun, feelings of oppression, loss of trust and social withdrawal had worsened considerably and she was permanently unfit for work.

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