Ansvar CEO has said the insurance industry has learnt from the child sex abuse cases in UK and Ireland and is ready for what Australia’s own inquiry will disclose.
Andrew Moon and national liability claims manager Lesley-Anne Butler were asked to provide an insurance perspective at the Victorian Parliament’s inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations.
“This sort of thing will cause people insuring that area to have a good look at it and make sure they are properly reserved,” Moon told Insurance Business. “It will also make insurers ask themselves if they can handle that situation. I think the answer is yes, because we have learnt from what happened in the UK and Ireland.
“The bigger issue will be if there are any historical claims. There will always be things we can’t predict but if we look at what happened in Ireland, we can take figures and data from that and the industry will continue to watch what is taking place in the UK.”
Ansvar has been pouring its efforts into becoming a broker-only insurer, a process that could be complete by the end of the year.
“We have always been reliant on brokers but we also have a direct business. We are moving away from the direct business rapidly,” Moon said.
“Brokers expect [an intermediated model] from us. They don’t want a product if they have to compete with the direct business too. We don’t have the resources to provide a direct offering. It’s all about purity of purpose. We are more specialist in who we are and what we do. The coming year is all about consolidation. We are removing any distractions.”
As well as focussing on completing the broking model transition, the insurer has recruited a team of underwriters to revamp all the wordings of the company’s policies.
“They are rewriting the policy wordings section by section. We have not done that sort of thing for a while.”
Moon admitted the insurer was previously seen as a generalist insurer, but since honing its underwriting capabilities in the faith, community service and care sectors; charities and heritage buildings, it has become known for its specialisms too.
“In the past, people would say good things about Ansvar but also note that we talked about a lot of things but did not always get it done. That has changed. Now we are known for our specialisms and we can talk with authority on those things and that is why we can speak at such things like the Victorian Parliamentary hearing.”