I would like to introduce Brad (not his real name). Brad is a real person and this is Brad’s reality as an industry fund super member. A result of generic Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) policies.

  • Brad is under age 30 with 7 years experience as a chef (standing all day).
  • Brad has been a chef since high school with no other training or experience apart from a bit of part-time work in retail stores.

Brad was hit by a speeding car on his motor bike head on in 2013 and was in hospital for many months. He had multiple operations and still needs a walking stick. After meeting Brad we lodged a claim for cover he did not know he had in 2014. Two different super funds that had generic TPD policies. One with $110,000 and another with $150,000. He really needed well over a million to truly reflect his loss of ‘human capital’. His future wealth and earnings.

MLC ‘any occupation’ definition below:

  • MLC decline Brad’s claim and turn a blind eye but then strangely approve it 12 months later (after much media attention relating to insurance companies we suppose). After years of financial stress this is a welcome payment to help Brad’s family.
  • Another industry fund declines Brad 2 years since lodging the claim and says that the member can retrain into at least 50 other roles according to job statistics. They conclude “The evidence presented informs that your client’s condition has not yet reached the point of maximum medical improvement and that further recovery is expected”. Who would have thought one word ‘again’ would be the difference!

Industry fund ‘any occupation’ definition below:

  • Brad has been off work for 3.5 years since his accident. Two doctors confirmed he cannot engage in his occupation as a chef (he had no other experience whatsoever at claim time) and cautioned even computer work full-time. With no other experience or training at claim time, Brad refusing to give up has attempted to retrain into office based work with little success due to severe fatigue sitting and operating a computer mouse. He has managed to earn only $11,000. Do you think he has not reached a ‘reasonable’ level of maximum medical improvement?
  • The industry fund claim is today an ongoing battle.

Have you taken the time to review your industry fund’s cover? The ads state that “we are all in this together” but the decline letter paints a different mantra. One that has slapped Brad in the face and said “you will be right mate”.

Please do not take the risk for your family and find out what cover you have and make sure it meets your circumstances, needs and occupation/occupational history.

Since knowing Brad, not once did he mention the fact that “at least my insurance premiums were cheap” nor did he mention that “at least I got free financial advice with my super fund”.


Dean Van Zyl – [Personal economy consultant]


This article does not take account of your personal circumstances.  Before relying on it to make a decision, you should consider how it applies to your circumstances or talk to us about our process for personal advice.