NSW Police Minister Stuart Ayres has urged MetLife to "work harder" to settle outstanding police compensation claims after the insurer conceded it would not meet its deadline of assessing all claims by July 1.
MetLife has 158 claims still open and this week said it was "on track to complete the assessments of the remaining claims by the end of July" - at least four weeks later than promised.
Of those claims, 101 were still under assessment and 57 were expected to be finalised shortly, a MetLife spokesman said.
Metlife has come under fire for its aggressive, relentless surveillance methods when dealing with mentally ill former police officers waiting for determinations of their total and permanent disability claims.
Hundreds of injured police, including many from the Illawarra, had claims with the global insurer when it lost its government contract in 2012. Some have waited up to four years to have their claims determined.
In an exclusive interview with the Mercury this week, Mr Ayres said he was unhappy with the way Metlife had handled the outstanding claims and the company "needs to be allocating all available resources to get claims sorted".
"We will continue to apply the pressure from our side of the ledger," Mr Ayres said.
The government and the NSW Police human resources team - under the command of Deputy Commissioner David Hudson - were meeting regularly with Metlife and the minister said he was "watching closely".
"Any delays from MetLife dealing with existing claims would not be well received by the NSW government and there is an expectation that this organisation supports former police as quickly and as efficiently as possible," Mr Ayres said.
"We've got the Deputy Commissioner working very closely with MetLife but they need to be allocating all available resources to clear out those claims."
Mr Ayres said there was no "magic bullet for MetLife" and he "did not appreciate some of the focuses" including heavy use of surveillance - but his government would continue to apply pressure.
Slater and Gordon police compensation lawyer John Cox said he was extremely disappointed Metlife was extending its time frame for finalising all claims.
"In January, MetLife made a commitment that the balance of these matters would be assessed well within six months and now we have a concession that this timeframe won't be met as promised and that process has drifted out by at least four weeks," he said.
"From my experiences with MetLife, I have absolutely no confidence that this new deadline will be met and I believe matters will again drift off and be in limbo."
Mr Cox said he had "genuine fears" for the welfare of his psychologically ill clients, "to many of whom this news will cause extreme trauma and distress".
"While I welcome the minister's comments regarding MetLife, this is such a significant issue that it requires immediate and significant attention to resolve it," Mr Cox said.
"Without exaggerating, for many claimants the prompt finalisation or delay in their claims is a life and death situation."
A MetLife spokesman said this week that total and permanent disability claims were complex and required time to assess to ensure an appropriate outcome and meet its obligations.
"The finalisation of these claims will then depend on factors outside our control, including the timing of responses to procedural fairness requirements and also the processes of the partners involved."
In January, MetLife told the Mercury it had boosted the number of assessors and was confident all outstanding claims would be assessed "well inside the proposed time frame of six months".