But a court has found her family was still owed her payout since there was no doubt she would have wanted to continue with her life insurance policy since she knew she was very unwell.
Mr Burns was born with spina bifida and used a wheelchair throughout her life.
Super changes led to mishandling
She died aged 54 in October 2019.
Key points:Carolyn Burns had life insurance with AMP AMP sent her emails saying it would be cancelled if she didn’t respondShe never responded but her family has won a case to get her life insurance benefit
Now, Carolyn Burns’s two brothers will be paid out a total of $260,000 after winning their case against AMP Super in South Australia’s District Court.
In July 2019, changes to superannuation law came in to prevent life insurance that some people never knew they even had eating up inactive accounts with low balances.
The accounts affected were handed over to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to handle.
Carolyn Burns worked at the WEA until 2014, helping people with disabilites gain training.(Facebook) Ms Burns’s account was among those affected, since she had not touched it since losing her job in 2014, because of her worsening health.
She had worked at adult education provider WEA helping people with disabilities access training. Despite knowing she no longer worked there, AMP sent a notice to her old email address at the WEA in April and June 2019, warning that her life insurance would be cancelled unless she replied.
Ms Burns first heard about her account possibly moving to the ATO in August 2019 — when her health was already failing — and asked in a phone call for AMP to send the information by a letter since she had not received any other notice about the issue. “She told them she had received no emails from them and was ringing them in response to a letter they had sent her by post at that time,” her brother Mark Steer’s lawyer, Peter Scragg, said.
AMP sent a letter on October 10, 2019, but it did not explain that Ms Burns’s insurance had been cancelled. At the time, Ms Burns was on her deathbed in hospital and never received the letter.
The District Court heard AMP sent emails to about 500 clients in a similar situation to Ms Burns.(ABC News: Dean Faulkner) “They decided to do nothing but knew from that time she hadn’t received the required notices of whether she should opt in or not.”