March 16, 2016
The Financial Services Council (FSC) will strengthen its yet to be released Life Insurance Code of Practice following recent adverse media coverage highlighting claims-related issues within the life insurance sector.
Addressing the FSC Life Insurance Conference, FSC Chief Executive, Sally Loane said the strengthening was focused particularly on those parts of the Code dealing with consumer protections.
“We have added a Steering Group to our Code development process which will include consumer representatives, the Financial Rights Legal Centre and the Consumer Action Law Centre, as well as senior life insurance executives,” Loane said.
“The consumer representatives will work closely with our members to identify where we need to strengthen consumer protections in our Code.”
Loane also stated that disclosure and communication with consumers would be a central part of the Code with key policy information to be provided in plain language.
In her opening address Loane referenced the recent issues with CommInsure and stated the claims process had also been central in the development of the Code.
“We are developing this Code to show how serious we are about improving our industry for the benefit of customers and consumers.”
“We are looking at the sort of additional support that vulnerable consumers may need if they are having difficulty with the process of buying insurance or making a claim. This could include identifying and supporting people suffering from mental illness, elderly customers, those who require the use of an interpreter, people living in remote communities, or those customers with very low levels of literacy.”
Loane reminded the conference that the Code will be an FSC standard and thus mandatory for its life insurer members and was an opportunity to reverse consumer sentiment.
“We are developing this Code to show how serious we are about improving our industry for the benefit of customers and consumers. We want to re-build trust. We want Australians to understand that life insurance can and does measurably improve lives.”