Disability and income protection policies often contain a
requirement that the insured is under the regular care and
attention of a medical practitioner for there to be cover.
The decision of the New South Wales Supreme Court in Atton v
National Mutual Life Association of Australasia  NSWSC
310 is a useful guide to what this means in practice.
The policy required the insured to be 'under the regular
care and attendance of a medical practitioner'.
The insured visited his General Practitioner once. The Court
held this was insufficient for the insured to be under the required
regular care and attendance. It held repetitive medical assistance
and a number of appointments are required. The Court did not state
a minimum number but clearly it is more than one.
While Australian decisions are not binding on a New Zealand
Court, they are influential. This is a useful overseas precedent
for New Zealand underwriters to draw on when considering whether
the terms of cover are satisfied.
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and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional
advice. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation
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The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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