BT Life Insurance

BT is one of Australia’s leading wealth experts and the Westpac Group’s wealth management brand. The company has been protecting Australians since 1987 with insurance solutions, including Life Cover, Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Cover, Living Insurance, and Income Protection Insurance.

Published January 20, 2021

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Our viewpoint: Is BT Australia the right choice for you?

insurer provides you with financial protection against life’s curveballs with a wide variety of life insurance products tailored for your unique requirements. In 2019 they paid over $416 million in financial assistance and won the AFA/Beddoes Consumer Choice Award for Overall Customer Choice, Value for money, and Most Satisfied Customer.

However, to determine whether the company is the best option for you, you might want to consider comparing their policies against other leading brands in Australia.

About BT Insurance

BT was launched in 1969 and is one of the many brands of the BT Financial Group Australia, which is the wealth management division of the Westpac Group. As of 2020, BT is the six largest life insurance company in Australia by market share (7.6%).

The Westpac Group was established in 1817 and is the oldest banking corporation in Australia. Westpac has a 31% interest in BT Investment Management and wholly acquired the BT Financial Group (BT) in 2002.

Financial strength

Generally, an insurance company’s financial strength indicates how well and how timely they’ll meet their financial obligations to customers, for example, paying out claims.

According to the Standards & Poor’s Financial Strength report of January 2020, BT scored an A+ rating, which shows it as strong and stable. However, an A rating is also characterised by the somewhat likely chance that they might be affected by adverse business conditions than other companies with higher ratings.

Because Westpac is registered under section 21 of the Life insurance Act of 1995, APRA (The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) regularly conducts a BT life insurance review to achieve their risks safely. Combined with RGA RE’s financial strength acting as their reinsurer, BT has a good history of claims being paid out.

BT Protection Plans policy options

BT Australia offers various flexible insurance solutions designed to protect you and your loved ones against unexpected life events, such as death, terminal illness, trauma, and disability. Insurance options include term life insurance, permanent disability cover, living insurance, and income protection insurance.

Term Life Insurance

BT life cover pays a lump sum benefit to the insured person’s beneficiary(s) if you pass away or get diagnosed with a terminal illness. Your beneficiary(s) can use the payout to help cover any outstanding debts, pay for your funeral, or fund future financial needs, such as your children’s education.

Entry age: 15-69 Years old when choosing a stepped premium style policy and up to age 49 or 59 for level premiums, depending on the option selected.
Expiry age: On or following the insured person’s 99th birthday.

TPD Insurance

Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) insurance pays a lump sum amount if you become totally and permanently disabled, as per the PDS definition, due to a sickness or injury. This policy can help pay medical and rehabilitation costs while providing financial security for your family.

Entry age: 15-59 for stepped and ‘Level’ 65 premium policies. Up to age 49 for ‘Level 55’ premiums.
Expiry age: On or after the insured person’s 99th birthday.

Living Insurance

Living Insurance, also knows as Trauma cover or Critical Illness insurance provides a lump sum benefit if you get diagnosed with one of the medical events listed in your PDS. For example, cancer, heart attack, or stroke. The benefit can help with significant expenses and provide peace of mind during recovery.

Entry age: Between the ages of 15 and 59 when applying for a stepped or ‘level 65’premium policy, and up to the age of 49 for ‘Level 55’ premium policies .
Expiry age: On or after your 75th birthday.

Income Protection

BT income protection insurance provides a monthly benefit of up to 75% of your regular income when disabled, as per your PDS definition, and unable to work because of an injury or sickness.

Entry age: 17 to age 59 for stepped and ‘level 65’ income protection policies that have a benefit period of 2 and 5 years, or up to age 65 or 70 when purchasing a stepped premium policy that has a benefit period to age 55. For a ‘Level 55’ and stepped premium policy with a benefit period to age 55, the entry age is up to age 49.
Expiry age: On or following your 55th, 65th, or 70th birthday, depending on your chosen premium structure and benefit period.

Business Expenses

This policy pays out a monthly benefit to cover the day-to-day costs of running a business, should the person insured become disabled due to sickness or injury, and unable to perform at their full capacity within the business. This policy generally covers expenses such as rent, utility bills, and the salaries of non-income-producing employees.

Entry age: Between 17 and 59.
Expiry age: On or following the insured person’s 65th birthday.

Does the company provide value for money insurance?

Whether BT offers you value for money cover generally depends on your specific requirements and what you can afford. If you are contemplating BT insurance, you might want to start by gathering quotes and comparing their benefits, features, and pricing with other leading Australian brands.

BT insurance – Pros

BT insurance – Cons

Although the insurer offers many benefits, you should also be aware of a few disadvantages. For example, no Death Benefit is payable should the insured person commit suicide within the first 13 months of the policy commencing. Carefully review your product disclosre statement (PS) for a full list of exclusions and restrictions.

The overall customer experience

Westpac only scored a 63.4% customer satisfaction rating on the Roy Morgan Single Source Survey (July 2018 to July 2019), which is on the low side. However, in 2019 BT won the AFA/Beddoes Overall Customer Choice Award, which would seem their customer experience has improved.

Reviewing a company’s claims statistics can also be a good indication of customer satisfaction. According to APRA (13 November 2019), Westpac reviewed 96.2% of all claims admitted and took on average 2 months to decide.

You might want to read some customer reviews to find out how others have experienced their interactions with BT.

What are some of the features offered by BT policies?

  • Terminal illness benefit: Pays your lump-sum death benefit if you get diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • Future insurability benefit: You can increase your Death, TPD, or Living Benefits sum insured without further medical underwriting should one of the occurrences listed in your PDS occur.
  • Financial planning benefit: You can get up to 5,000 when using a financial planner after receiving a Death, Terminal Illness, TPD, or Trauma benefit.
  • Funeral advancement benefit: Your beneficiaries will generally receive a 10% advance on your Death Benefit, up to a maximum of $25,000 to help pay for your funeral.
  • Counselling benefit: Receive 10 counselling sessions, up to the value of $5,000, after receiving a Death benefit, TPD, or Living benefit payout.
  • CPI (Consumer Price Indexes) increases: To ensure your policy remains in line with inflation, BT will automatically increase your benefit by the CPI.

Take note: These are the general built-in benefits you can expect from a BT life insurance policy. You can add optional benefits at an additional cost. 

How to apply for a BT life insurance policy

If you wish to apply for a life insurance policy through BT, you can contact a financial advisor through their website and schedule an appointment. Alternatively, you can call them directly.

Once your application is underway, BT will review your eligibility depending on various factors, for example, your age, gender, and medical history.

If your application is accepted, they will provide you with a policy schedule. Should you change your mind and cancel your policy within the 28-day cooling-off period, you’ll generally receive a full refund of any premiums paid, as long as you’ve not claimed.

How to lodge a BT claim

If you wish to claim on your insurance policy, you’ll usually need to:

  • Contact the company within 30 days of the event occurring and inform them of your intention to claim. They’ll typically provide you with the claim forms and tell you of any additional documents they might require.
  • Complete the forms and send it, along with any other relevant documentation, to the company.
  • After receiving your completed forms, they will assess it and provide you with their decision, or they may request that you first be examined by a medical professional.
  • Once approved, the insurer will pay your benefit via direct deposit or cheque.

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • What is BT Insurance?

    By market share, BT, formerly known as Bankers Trust, is the sixth largest life insurance company in Australia. They offer Terminal Illness and Death Insurance, Permanent Disability Cover, and Living Insurance and Income Protection cover.
  • How can I get a BT life insurance quote?

    To receive a BT insurance quote, you can generally contact them directly through phone or website. Alternatively, complete a quote form on this page and compare BT policies to other leading insurers in Australia.
  • How do I cancel my BT life insurance?

    You can usually cancel a BT life insurance policy by phoning them directly. However, they might require a written request. They generally need about 6 working days to process your request. Canceling within the 28-day cooling-off period means you’ll typically receive a full refund of any premiums paid, as long as no claim has been submitted.
  • Who owns BT life insurance?

    BT Insurance is owned by the Westpac Group, which holds the title of being Australia’s oldest banking company.
  • What is BT flexible linking Plus?

    Flexible Linking Plus allows you to link benefits from a policy held outside of superannuation with one inside your super fund, thus providing you the best from both worlds. For example, usually benefits not available from BT insurance inside superannuation, such as the Financial Planning Benefits and Counselling Benefits, can be accessed with flexible linking.

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