Recommendations relating to Financial and Insurance Services

Financial and insurance services are tools that enable people to manage their finances in a range of different circumstances. The exclusion of people affected by complex mental health issues from these services can have a devastating impact on their wealth and living conditions throughout their lives.

It is essential that access to financial support and insurance is improved, to ensure people affected by complex mental health issues are aware of their rights and can enjoy equal access to these services.

Participants who had accessed insurance services reported greater perceived experiences of unfair treatment and denial of products compared with participants who had accessed banking services. Almost all participants who responded to the financial and insurance-specific section of the survey said they had been treated unfairly by insurance providers when applying for insurance products. More than half of participants reported receiving similar treatment from banking providers (for example, mortgage lenders and loan providers) when applying for related products. 

"I am not able to receive travel insurance unless I exclude my mental health condition. I am not able to receive, Income Protection, or Life insurance due to my mental health condition."     

– Our Turn to Speak participant, South Australia    


In March 2018, a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services made a series of recommendations, including implementing a mandatory Code of Practice to avoid discrimination on the basis of disclosed mental health issues or a treatment history. The Our Turn to Speak survey findings suggest that, almost two years later, discriminatory practices – including structural barriers to accessing services and products – unfortunately continue to pose challenges to people living with complex mental health issues. 


Recommendations for action 

  1. Support the work of organisations such as the Insurance Discrimination Working Group in seeking to address stigma and discrimination faced by people affected by complex mental health issues when accessing (or trying to access) insurance products.
  2. Remove existing standard exclusions impacting people affected by complex mental health issues when accessing (or trying to access) insurance and banking products.
  3. Establish financial services programs that cater to the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues including financial planning, financial literacy and support to manage finances during any period of acute distress.