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ANZ Smart Choice Super and COVID-19 FAQs

To learn more about ANZ’s response to COVID-19, visit anz.com/covid-19

Published 27 March 2020

We understand there’s a lot of uncertainty right now. As the world reacts to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we want to reassure ANZ Smart Choice Super customers we’re here to help. 

Your top questions answered

Log in to ANZ Internet Banking. Your ANZ Smart Choice Super account balance will be listed together with your other ANZ accounts, if any.

Click on your super account to then access further functionality relating to your ANZ Smart Choice Super account, such as transaction history and investment performance.

Financial markets dislike uncertainty, and COVID-19 has delivered a lot of uncertainty worldwide over the past few months. This has triggered a correction from the unusually strong performance of some markets in 2019, and in other asset classes a significant drop in value. 

This can create concern, but unless you had planned to take your money out as a lump sum in the near future, it’s generally best to stick to your original investment strategy and still be in the market for the anticipated rebound. 

You can read ANZ Smart Choice Super’s investment house view on COVID-19 for more information.

Take comfort knowing that your ANZ Smart Choice Super Lifestage option automatically adjusts the mix of investments to become more conservative the closer you get to retirement. As you approach retirement, the investment mix changes to a more defensive portfolio anchored by cash and bonds. 

If you have chosen your own investment mix within ANZ Smart Choice Super, your preferences remain the same.  You can login via Internet Banking on anz.com and change these if you wish.

Your super typically needs to last you a good 20-30 years, so if you choose to react to the market volatility and move all your investments to cash during a downturn, you will crystallise your losses and may miss out on the benefits of any subsequent rebounds. 

If you’re really concerned about what your super is invested in, you should talk to a financial adviser about your investment strategy and the suitability of your investments.

While the news headlines can make it hard not to feel panicked, it’s important to take a calm and considered approach to your superannuation. Super is an investment vehicle for your retirement; when you’re young, you’re likely to have your investments mainly in growth assets such as shares. These are designed to provide potential higher returns over the long term, with enough time to ride out any dips or rapid fluctuations in markets. 

A long-term focus is critical during times of market turbulence and history has shown that markets have the ability to recover from significant downturns. So, while the coronavirus is clearly impacting the global economy now, we will likely see a recovery in the medium term.

However, if you’re really concerned about what your super is invested in, you should talk to a financial adviser.

That depends on your eligibility. The government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in the first three months of 2020-21.

If you believe you are eligible, you will need to apply directly to the Australian Tax Office. You will need to provide your bank details and it is anticipated you will be able to apply for early release of your superannuation from mid-April 2020.

For more information, please visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus or speak with your financial adviser.

The government has announced a temporary reduction of superannuation minimum draw-down requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years.

Where relevant, you should contact us if you wish to change your pension draw-down.

The following responses are specific to insurance arrangements provided by OnePath Life Limited as the main Insurer for the ANZ Smart Choice Super product suite. For information relating to insurance arrangements provided by other insurers, please contact Customer Service on 13 12 87

Insurance within super

For ANZ Smart Choice Super, your insurance cover is held through trustee-owned group insurance policies with insurers. These policies do not have a direct pandemic/epidemic exclusion. Contact us if you would like more detail on the policy which applies to you. There are a number of insurers that provide insurance arrangements for ANZ Smart Choice Super. The policy that you have taken out individually may have different terms and conditions, so you should speak to a financial adviser to understand the details.

In this uncertain time, the trustee has reached out to a number of its service providers, including insurers and they are appropriately responding and taking prudent actions to continue their operations, minimise disruption and importantly, deliver services to our members. They are watching circumstances closely and if there are changes, their responses may also change. Any insurance claim is subject to assessment and eligibility for cover.

There are no specific exclusions for COVID-19 in your policy.

As long as your insurance cover remains in force and has not ceased on the date your claim is submitted (‘Claim Date’) and the date of the incident which gave rise to the claim (‘Event Date’).

Reduction in working hours

Where the Event Date falls on or between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021, the ‘Pre-COVID-19 Hours’ will be used to calculate benefits and determine whether the ‘Minimum Average Hours’ requirement has been satisfied.  The current policy terms otherwise remain the same.

Under the policy terms, the ‘Minimum Average Hours’ requirement (i.e. the average working hours as at the Event Date) is one of the factors considered when determining:

  • whether you are entitled to a TPD or IP benefit
  • which TPD definition is applicable to your claim, as specified in the policy (e.g. the ‘any occupation’ definition requires you to meet a Minimum Average Hours of 15 hours per week).

Reduction in salary or wages

Where the Event Date falls on or between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 and your salary was reduced during this period due to COVID-19, the salary you earned immediately before the salary reduction will be used to calculate benefits/premiums under the Group Life and Group Income Protection policies.

Please note there are other criteria for determination of entitlement for a TPD/IP benefit, such as:

  • assessment of the ‘Minimum Average Hours’
  • assessment of the TPD Definition applicable to the claim
  • other factors considered when determining a TPD or IP claim (e.g. Gainfully working on the day immediately prior to the Event Date).

Yes.  Concessions are not available where the relevant reduction of hours or salary took place ‘company/organisation’ wide and therefore applies to all employees or a group of employees on the same basis.

In all cases, for the period between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021, the amount of IP monthly benefit will be offset by any JobKeeper payment received by you.

For example, if you were eligible to receive $5,000 in income protection payments but were also receiving $3,000 per month for JobKeeper through your employer, the JobKeeper payments would be deducted from the $5,000 claim payment.  So, your monthly insurance benefit would be $2,000 per month.

The JobKeeper payment will also be considered as ‘income’ during the month in respect of a Partial Disability benefit. 

For the period on or between 11 March 2020 to 1 January 2021, the insurer will offset any JobKeeper payment from all Total Disability Benefit payments.  If you receive the JobKeeper payment, it will be considered as part of your income during the relevant month in respect of any Partial Disability Benefits.  This means, the JobKeeper payment will reduce the monthly benefit and be included as income in the month for partial calculations so that you are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged at claim time.  The current policy terms otherwise remain the same.

As the JobKeeper payment is a new initiative and is not mentioned in the current policy terms, this position will be applied in conjunction with any concessions agreed between the Trustee and the Insurer.

For the period between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 (for claims notified by 31 March 2021), OPL will offset any JobKeeper payment from all Total Disability Benefit payments and will be considered as the insured member’s income during the relevant month in respect of any Partial Disability Benefits.  Meaning, the payments will reduce the monthly benefit and be included / assessed as income in the month for partial calculations so that insured members are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged at claim time. The current policy terms otherwise remain the same.

For example, if the member was eligible to receive $5,000 in IP payments but was also receiving $3,000 per month in JobKeeper payments through their employer, the JobKeeper payments would be deducted from the $5,000 claim payment.  Therefore, the monthly insurance benefit would be $2,000 per month.

With respect to the receipt of the JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments, any claim will be subject to meeting the Gainfully Working requirement.

Under the current policies, insurance cover does not cease solely because your employment has been terminated.  In order to claim a TPD or Income Protection Benefit, you will need to satisfy the “Gainfully Working” requirement.  If, as at the Event Date, you have been on unpaid Employer Approved Leave for longer than 12 consecutive months, then you will not be entitled to a TPD or Income Protection Benefit.

Your cover will generally continue for up to 12 consecutive months whilst you are on leave from your employer, provided you remain employed and premiums are paid.

As long as your cover remains in force and has not ceased on the date your claim is submitted (‘Claim Date’) and the date of the incident which gave rise to the claim (‘Event Date’).

Where the Event Date falls on or between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021, the ‘Pre-COVID-19 Hours’ and the ‘Pre-COVID-19 salary’ will be used to calculate benefits and determine whether the ‘Minimum Average Hours’ requirement has been satisfied.  The current policy terms otherwise remain the same.

When assessing ‘Employer Approved Leave’ at claim time, the Insurer will, among other things, take into account whether you continued to be employed and remained on your employer’s payroll during the relevant period.  Evidence of this may be requested.

You will no longer be able to claim a benefit under your Group Income Protection policy.  To be eligible to be paid a benefit on your Group Income Protection policy, you must be unable to work solely due to illness or injury and satisfy the nominated Waiting Period.

If you lose your job, are stood down or have reduced working hours due to COVID-19, we will assess your TPD claim using the applicable disability definition based on your working arrangements as at 11 March 2020, if you meet the following criteria:

  • you were working in your normal capacity on 11 March 2020
  • you have had reduced working hours or lost your job due to COVID-19 since 11 March 2020
  • you became disabled as a result of an illness or injury on and between 11 March and 1 January 2021
  • you have maintained your TPD cover at the time you became totally and permanently disabled
  • you lodged your completed claim form on or before 31 March 2021.

You may apply, however any increase in cover is subject to the insurer’s assessment of your application  and all information provided with your application. The insurer may at its sole discretion accept, decline or request further information – you will be informed in writing of the Insurer’s decision.

No.  You are only eligible to be paid a benefit on your GSC or IP cover if you can’t work solely due to illness or injury.  If you are assessed and eligible for any GSC or IP benefit, you would first need to satisfy the nominated Waiting Period (which is likely to be longer than a self-isolation period).  The Insurer will assess your claim based on the information received at claim time, and on its own merits.

If you were on extended leave from work and had an agreed return date (e.g. parental leave) but you were unable to return to work because of the economic impact of COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive insurance benefits.  This is subject to your claim being accepted and you meeting the terms and conditions of your insurance cover.  The Insurer will assess your claim based on the information received at claim time, and on its own merits.

Yes.  You may apply for additional cover, however the Insurer will defer the underwriting decision until you have received a clean bill of health from your doctor confirming you are illness and symptom free and have no ongoing respiratory complications. Any application for increased cover (outside of an AAL) will be assessed on its own merits, and is subject to the Insurer’s assessment and approval.

The current information available suggests most individuals who contract COVID-19 recover within 14 days and are able to return to their normal activities. The long-term health impacts or complications of COVID-19 remains unclear.  If you have long-term permanent health complications resulting from COVID-19, then you may be eligible to be paid a benefit under your TPD policy.  The Insurer will assess your claim based on the information received at claim time, and on its own merits.

Yes.  The standard policy terms and conditions will continue to apply to new employees, and you can continue to join the group insurance policy and receive default cover (subject to meeting the eligibility for cover insurance arrangements).  Please check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDF, 2.7MB) and relevant Insurance Guide for full details.

Definitions

‘Event Date’ refer to the ANZ Smart Choice Super Insurance Guide for details.

‘Gainfully Working’ refer to the ANZ Smart Choice Super Insurance Guide for details.

‘Minimum Average Hours’ refer to the ANZ Smart Choice Super Insurance Guide for details.

‘Pre-Covid-19 Hours’ means the usual working hours immediately before the reduction of working hours on or after 11 March 2020 due to the COVID-19).

‘Pre-Covid-19 Salary’ means the usual salary immediately before the reduction of salary between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 due to the COVID-19).

‘Stood down’ means an employee has been requested to stop working by the employer and they are not paid.  They are still employed by the business and have entitlements.  Being stood down is different to being made redundant or being fired.  Being stood down is treated the same way as being on employer approved leave, as long as it is not longer than 12 consecutive months.

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“ANZ Smart Choice Super” is a suite of products consisting of ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension (PDF 113kB)ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees (PDF 122kb) and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees (PDF 124kb). The ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension product is distributed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522). ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees are MySuper compliant products issued pursuant to the latest PDS available at anz.com/smartchoicesuper. ANZ Smart Choice Super is part of the Retirement Portfolio Service (the Fund) (ABN 61 808 189 263) and is issued by OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (ABN 12 008 508 496, AFSL 238346, RSE L0000673) (OPC), the trustee of the Fund. OPC is a member of the IOOF Group of companies, comprising IOOF Holdings Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522) brand is a trademark of ANZ and is used by OPC under licence from ANZ. ANZ and the IOOF Group of companies (including OPC) are not related bodies corporate. ANZ does not guarantee these products.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into ANZ Smart Choice Super, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. 

This information is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your personal needs, financial situation or objectives. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives.

All fees are subject to change. Other key features are relevant when choosing a super fund, including performance.

Taxation law is complex and this information has been prepared as a guide only and does not represent taxation advice. Please see your tax adviser for independent taxation advice. The information on insurance cover is a summary only of the terms and conditions applying to the insurance cover. To the extent there is any inconsistency with the terms of the insurance cover provided by the insurer, the terms of the insurance policy will prevail.

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Fee Analysis: Research conducted by SuperRatings Pty Ltd, holder of Australian Financial Services Licence No. 311880. For a copy of the latest SuperRatings research, click here (PDF 452kB).

For more information, visit moneymag.com.au, selectingsuper.com.au and superratings.com.au SuperRatings does not issue, sell, guarantee or underwrite this product. Learn more about SuperRatings' criteria.

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