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Mental health discrimination in the travel industry

The Commission has concluded a major statutory investigation into mental health discrimination by travel insurers.

Final report: Fair-minded cover

The Commission’s report, Fair-minded cover, details the findings of the Investigation, which looked at the compliance of several Australian travel insurers over an eight-month period.

The Investigation focused on three companies that made up around 37 per cent of Australia’s travel insurance industry – Allianz & AGA, Suncorp and World Nomads Group.

The Investigation found that, in an eight-month period, these travel insurers sold more than 365,000 policies containing terms that discriminated against people with mental health conditions.

These insurers were unable to establish that they could rely on any of the available exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act to lawfully discriminate.

We are pleased to report that, during the investigation, all three insurers committed to changing their practice of issuing travel insurance policies with a blanket mental health exclusion. This means that some of the largest travel insurers in the Australian market will now provide some cover for mental health conditions.

The report also considered important steps insurers can take to comply with the law in future.

Watch our video explainer below.

Summary of the report

Agreements with insurers

Following the investigation, the Commission entered into an agreement with nib holdings (parent company of World Nomads Group) regarding the removal of travel insurance products that included discriminatory clauses. We confirm that, since this agreement was executed, nib holdings has now removed the clauses from its products and have accordingly met all requirements of the agreement.

Read more about our work with nib and download the final agreement.

Tracking improvements

In six months’ time the Commission will seek an update on progress made towards implementing our recommendations from the insurers and entities. We will publish their responses here.

Making a complaint as a consumer

To help you with questions you may have about travel insurance and mental health, we have created a consumer fact sheet.

If you believe you have been discriminated against because of a mental health condition, disability or another protected personal characteristic you can call us on 1300 292 153 or submit an online complaint form.

We offer a free, fair and timely dispute-resolution service that can help to resolve complaints of discrimination and harassment.

Related resources

Fair-minded cover: Investigation into discrimination in the travel insurance industry – Jun 2019

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and deep connection to the land.

We acknowledge that the Commission is on the land of the Kulin Nation and pay our respects to Elders past and present.