The ICA is to kick-start discussions into improving the claims and complaints process after a review into the general code of practice recommended a host of reforms to boost both areas.
Among the recommendations made by independent reviewer Ian Enright are that an insurer should be entitled to the defences set out in the claims services levels; the ‘right to claim’ standard should be enhanced in the claims level service; and that if a claim is not determined within four months, it should not automatically become an IDR matter.
Other proposals urge for it not to be code standard that the claimant is notified about the internal dispute resolution and external dispute resolution on claim lodgement; and that there should be no time limit on finalising a claim after it is accepted.
The ICA said the Code review working group “will use Enright’s recommended guidelines for claims service levels and internal complaints as a basis for discussion of processes that are acceptable to both insurance companies and consumer representatives”.
It added that the group was “already hard at work on the detail of a revised Code based on Enright’s recommendations and input from key stakeholders”.
The ICA aims to release a draft revised Code for consultation by October, and is to discuss the report and the on-going process of Code development with all interested parties in the coming months.
The ICA did not give a date as to when a revised Code will come into effect but it spoke of plans to consult with its members over the appropriate transition period, to allow the general insurance industry time to put in place new systems and processes and provide proper training to employees and agents on their enhanced responsibilities under the revised Code.
The report comes less than two months after consumer watchdogs raised fears that the report would not come to fruition because the ICA had failed to give a date.
The release of the report should put paid to such fears, as a statement by the ICA said the review was not expected until 2013 but the ICA board brought it forward 12 months to address feedback that arose from the industry’s response to the natural disasters of 2010/11.
The code is binding on ICA members, and breaches are said to be taken “very seriously”.
Enright conducted a 12-month investigation into the code and compiled a 205-page report, which can be read here.