A major industry body has launched a fresh review of the code of practice that commits insurers to provide services to consumers in an open, fair, and honest way, to keep pace with recent developments affecting the industry.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) will carry out a new review that will examine seven of the 15 sections of the General Insurance Code of Practice, and will consider the need to expand the Code to cover additional areas of insurer behaviour.
The sections that will come under review include standards for employees and authorised representatives; standards for service suppliers; financial hardship; complaints and disputes; and monitoring, enforcement, and sanctions.
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“The Code is a living document that evolves to remain the benchmark for industry self-regulation in Australia,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan. “Though it remains fit for purpose following a thorough review in 2012, external developments mean that a more focused review is now merited.”
“Two Senate inquiries examining general insurance are underway, so now is an appropriate time to consider whether the Code needs an update.”
The new review of the Code was also prompted by the following developments:
• The independent Ramsay Review of the external dispute resolution framework, which was due to report by March 31;
• The General Insurance Code Governance Committee’s ongoing own-motion inquiry into claims investigations and outsourced services; and
• The commencement of the Financial Services Council’s Life Insurance Code of Practice in October last year.
An interim report of the review is expected to be released within six months.
The Code, introduced in 1994 and monitored and enforced by the independent Code Governance Committee, has been previously reviewed four times.
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