The Australian insurance industry has joined the three-year industry Funding Model for Financial Counsellors, according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).
In a release, the ICA revealed that insurers entered a $30 million co-funding agreement with financial services providers to address demand for financial counselling via the Funding Model for Financial Counsellors.
“The insurance industry is committed to supporting financial counselling and has been actively involved in discussions with other financial services and the government on the development of an industry co-funding model since 2020,” said ICA CEO Andrew Hall. “Financial counsellors play a vital role in supporting people who are experiencing financial hardship, and a sustainable funding model helps to ensure they can continue to provide their important service.”
The Funding Model for Financial Counsellors aims to help around 9,000 additional Australians access face-to-face financial counselling and enable the National Debt Helpline to handle an extra 17,000 calls annually.
The funding model was developed in response to recommendations made by Louise Sylvan AM in her review of financial counselling in 2019 following the Hayne Royal Commission in 2017. The review called for greater industry support to address long waiting lists for financial counselling that resulted in some Australians who wanted the service being turned away.
To be established in early 2024, the independent body that will make decisions regarding the financial counselling funding model’s funding allocations and prioritisations will be funded by the Australian government and coordinated through Financial Counselling Australia.
In other news, the ICA recently commended the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s decision to reform the Emergency Services Levy (ESL).