Insurers drop mental health exclusions

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QBE Insurance has become the second Australian insurer to drop mental health exclusions in its travel insurance policies. From 1 July, the blanket exclusions for sufferers of mental health issues were lifted from QBE Insurance’s policies.

Cover-More Australia became the first to do so on 1 June, with Australian news outlet The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that the move was welcomed by the public and mental health sectors.

QBE’s new policy documents mean that policyholders who are unable to start or finish their trip due to a pre-existing mental health condition that has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner are covered under the cancellation benefit.

The move has also been welcomed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which said that the changes implemented by Cover-More and QBE ‘signal a big step forward in the battle to get insurance companies to end systematic discrimination against people with mental health conditions’.

Jonathon Hunyor, PIAC CEO, added: “We hope that Cover-More’s [and QBE’s] new approach encourages other insurance companies to take an evidence-based and common-sense approach to the risks involved in insuring people who may develop mental health issues.”