Elise, 2, is waiting for an organ transplant.
Elise, 2, is waiting for an organ transplant. Patrick Woods

Parents' fight as organ transplant deemed 'elective surgery'

A MAROOCHYDORE family battling to have insurance companies recognise organ transplants as non-elective surgery has reached a major milestone.

Anthea and Glenn Anderson's two-year-old daughter Elise has a severe liver condition and urgently needs a transplant.

But Mr Anderson's life insurer Asteron Life initially deemed his decision to donate part of his liver as "elective surgery".

As reported by the Daily, the insurer buckled and agreed to cover Mr Anderson for the three months the family's sole breadwinner would need to recover from the surgery.

Elise is now on a waiting list to receive a liver donation, after the family found out at the last minute her dad's was unsuitable.

But the battle continues for other families with willing organ donors in the same situation, and the Andersons have not given up.

A petition calling for the Federal Government to force insurers to reclassify live donation has gathered more than 2000 signatures.


Glenn and Anthea Anderson with their daughter Elise, 1, and Luke, 3, celebrating Elise's birthday.
Glenn and Anthea Anderson with their daughter Elise, then 1, and Luke, 3. Anderson family

Adding weight to the campaign, industry body the Financial Services Council is now considering its guidance to insurers and the Senate is looking at the issue as part of its life insurance inquiry.

Finance commentator and educator Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon says the policy shift recommended in the petition would cause a huge shake-up of the superannuation insurance industry.

"The big issue for people is that insurance in super never covers live organ donation," she said.

"It means that if your kid got sick you wouldn't get a payout from premiums you've been paying for years for income protection insurance."

Ms Pedersen-McKinnon and Mrs Anderson have together lobbied for national change on this issue.

"I think it's fair to say Anthea and I have been delighted with the initial success we've had from the Sunshine Coast to bring about a national change to what is quite frankly a really dodgy insurance practice and a very heartless one," Ms Pedersen-McKinnon said.

"There was an enormous response to all the media coverage when the Andersons decided very bravely to share their story.

"I am really hopeful that what was done here together will agitate for some permanent change that will help many other families around the country."

Find the petition by searching change.org for 'Stop insurers classifying live organ donation as elective surgery' or click here.