ACIL calls for major revamp of insurance code amid consumer outcry

Consumer disputes exacerbated by challenging market and extreme weather events

ACIL calls for major revamp of insurance code amid consumer outcry

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

The Australian Consumers Insurance Lobby Inc (ACIL) is pushing for comprehensive reforms to the General Insurance Code of Conduct in light of growing consumer dissatisfaction and industry-wide issues.

This initiative follows an increase in disputes between consumers and insurers, exacerbated by challenging market conditions and the significant flooding events of 2022.

Gaps in the General Insurance Code of Conduct

ACIL claims that the current Code of Conduct contains numerous weaknesses that insurers have taken advantage of, resulting in insufficient consumer protection during critical periods.

This problem was particularly highlighted in the aftermath of the 2022 floods, which brought numerous consumer grievances to the forefront. Data gathered from consumer experiences during the flood inquiry has underscored the inadequacies of the existing regulatory measures.

How to enhance the General Insurance Code of Conduct

ACIL has proposed recommendations aimed at strengthening regulatory oversight, improving transparency, and enhancing consumer protections. These suggestions are intended to ensure the code meets the needs and expectations of Australian insurance policyholders.

Some of the recommendations are:

  • including a clear and detailed section outlining the obligations of insurance companies to meet or exceed legal standards
  • requiring all consumer-facing interactions to be conducted with a high standard of empathy
  • making empathy training a prerequisite for employees and distributions engaging with customers
  • requiring insurance companies to choose service suppliers based on their professional merit and qualifications
  • requiring insurers to proactively notify customers of potential underinsurance at policy inception and renewal
  • ensuring insurance companies do not engage in predatory pricing
  • protecting consumers from excessive administrative fees
  • reducing the standard turnaround time for catastrophe claims

“The current state of the code is unacceptable and does not fulfill its purpose to protect consumers effectively. If significant enhancements are not integrated into the revised code, ACIL will take further actions to ensure that the necessary protections are firmly established,” said ACIL Chair Tyrone Shandiman.

The organisation is urging all stakeholders to support these changes to ensure the code adequately serves the interests of consumers.

ACIL also recently outlined its recommendations to address underinsurance and the complexity of insurance policy terms, enhancing the transparency and fairness within the Australian insurance industry.

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