The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has approved a new General Insurance Code of Practice after one of the most extensive reviews in the code’s 25-year history, in a bid to further enhance the rights and expectations insurance customers have about their relationships with their insurers.
ICA members and other code participants will transition the code starting Jan. 01, with all code signatories to be compliant by Jan. 01, 2021. All code signatories will also be required to introduce and implement a publicly available policy to support customers affected by family violence by July 01 next year.
“The new code provides a significant improvement to consumer outcomes in their dealings with insurers, their distributors, and their service providers,” said Richard Enthoven, ICA board president. “We now have provisions for customers experiencing vulnerability, including a requirement for signatories to have a policy to support people affected by family violence and provisions for customers who are experiencing mental health conditions. The insurance industry has enhanced its financial hardship provisions. The code also provides enhanced sanction powers to the independent code governance committee for breaches of the code, and includes a community benefit payment by insurers that commit significant breaches.”
The ICA board believes the new code would set the benchmark for self-regulation in Australia and would strengthen the insurance sector’s reputation with customers, consumer advocates, regulators, and governments.