ASIC clarifies retail cover obligations in business insurance

ASIC clarifies retail cover obligations in business insurance | Insurance Business Australia

ASIC clarifies retail cover obligations in business insurance

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has clarified the obligations of insurers and brokers when offering retail insurance as part of bundled business insurance contracts.

The corporate regulator has granted relief to insurers and brokers to reduce regulatory burden and provide certainty for the industry that the retail client obligations do not apply to business insurance products, preventing compliance costs arising from the retail client obligations from being incurred and passed on to businesses.

The relief also includes several conditions to ensure that the retail covers are genuinely incidental to, and inseparable from, the wholesale insurance product. For example, when a retail cover is offered as an extra, when the business client makes a separate decision to purchase it or pays an additional fee, the relief will not apply.

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ASIC's legislative instrument, “ASIC Corporations (Incidental Retail cover) Instrument 2022/716,” exempts insurers and brokers from certain retail client obligations in chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 for incidental retail cover provided in business insurance contacts.

Incidental retail cover is a retail insurance cover provided to businesses that form a minor, incidental, and inseparable part of an otherwise wholesale insurance product, for example, the loss or damage of personal effects within wholesale business property insurance products benefitting businesses' employees.

ASIC granted relief following an insurer's application and consultation with various industry, consumer, and government stakeholders. The relief commenced on August 16 and will expire in three years, with ASIC reviewing the instrument's operation before it expires.

Aside from granting relief, ASIC recently released its quarterly enforcement and regulatory update.