Global insurance boss jets in to help avert crisis

Global insurance boss jets in to help avert crisis

Global insurance boss jets in to help avert crisis A global insurer has flown a United States-based senior executive to Australia to deal with an impending crisis, it has been reported.

Fairfax Media first broke the news that Combined Insurance, a subsidiary of ACE Group, was to be investigated by ASIC for a host of severe complaints against the company.

In light of the news, ACE Group has flown the global president of Combined, Brad Bennett, to Australia for “high-level talks with local executives” following the alleged infringements.

With around 65,000 policy-holders in Australia, the Fairfax allegations relate to the mis-selling of insurance policies across the country thanks to revelations from company whistle-blowers.

The Sydney Morning Herald report that an ASIC investigation is pending as the regulator has conducted “lengthy interviews with former Combined Insurance employees” with a view to court action.

In a statement, Chris Carey, head of Combined Insurance – Asia Pacific said that the insurer is “troubled and concerned to learn” that customers may have been treated inappropriately by its representatives.

“Combined has extensive compliance systems and processes in place to protect its customers and to ensure that we treat every customer fairly, fulfil our obligations to pay claims and remain fully compliant with both the letter and the spirit of the law,” Carey continued.

Carey noted that the insurer receives fewer complaints than the Financial Ombudsman Service average and the company takes all complaints seriously.

“We take seriously and investigate every complaint we receive. When we find that a complaint has merit, we take prompt action to resolve it, such as refunding premiums or paying the claim. When we determine that a Combined representative has acted improperly, we take appropriate action, which may include termination or other discipline.”

Carey noted that while the company does not comment publicly on specific complaints, the company has a good relationship with the regulator.

“We can say that we work to provide an appropriate resolution for every complaint.

“We do provide full information on complaints to the FOS and believe we have had a productive and constructive relationship in the past with ASIC.

“We have recently enhanced our compliance processes and will work with ASIC to determine whether any additional changes may be necessary.”
5 Comments
  • The Northern Oracle 9/04/2015 9:52:41 AM
    One would have thought that Ace / Combined would have learnt their lesson from the last time there was an ASIC enforcement. I can still recall in my ANZIIF study book of the quoted case history of Combined selling Personal Accident policies to indigenous communities on CDEP [work for the dole] schemes.
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  • Terry2 9/04/2015 11:56:48 AM
    These people have been and, it seems, continue to be a blight on the Australian insurance industry.
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  • Paul 9/04/2015 12:58:55 PM
    The problem is systemic and unrecognised by regulators. In the nineties tens of thousands of agents were forced out of the Life industry. These were the old collector agents and mum and dad agents that served the average person. These were replaced by advisors who were only interested in high net worth clients. Now ordinary people get cover via super, usually inadequate or go without. The direct sellers now have rubbish policies with no advice and use call centres to flog their usually inferior products. Combined continued to target average to lower income groups, often going door to door. Sadly they do fill a role but attract the wrong sort of agent. Results speak for themselves. The Life industry continues to shoot itself in the foot, tarnishing general insurance brokers- guilt by association.
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