Best Interests Duty Not Always in Consumer’s Best Interests

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Life insurance advice delivered in line with the Best Interests Duty is not always in the consumer’s best interests, according to Synchron Director, Don Trapnell.

A statement from the company says it’s calling for the Best Interests Duty to be scrapped for life insurance advisers, in favour of a requirement to provide appropriate advice.

Trapnell says the Best Interests Duty forces life insurance advisers to go through an extensive needs analysis process and produce a statement of advice covering off the client’s financial situation, even if all the client wants is to increase their life insurance cover for a specific need.

Don Trapnell …a better approach would be a requirement for life insurance advisers to provide appropriate advice…

He adds that it’s not the fault of their advisers, but clients are “… likely being over-serviced and consequently overcharged because of legislation brought in by a Government that appears to believe Australians are too stupid to know what they want, need and can afford in terms of life insurance advice. Australians are not stupid and should be free to choose”.

Trapnell argues that in seeking to protect people from themselves, the Government has legislated away the right to choose. “It is the very definition of a nanny state,” he says.

…because it cannot be limited to just the advice they seek, it is likely to be more expensive than they expect…

While the life insurance advice clients currently receive might be in line with the Best Interests Duty, Trapnell says that because it cannot be limited to just the advice they seek, it is likely to be more expensive than they expect and as a result, they might be reluctant to act upon it, and reluctant to seek further advice when they need it.

“Ironically, the advice may therefore not be in the client’s best interests at all,” he says, adding that a better approach would be a requirement for life insurance advisers to provide appropriate advice “… that is, advice that is in line with the advice the client is actually seeking, and actually needs”.

If the Best Interests Duty is not scrapped for life insurance advisers, Trapnell believes advice may become beyond the reach of many people who, he says, would then be forced to buy policies direct via the phone or internet, or not at all.

“This is likely to ultimately see fewer people appropriately insured and the social security burden on the Government further increase, he says.



6 COMMENTS

  1. Thank goodness, for the life industry, people like Don Trapnell are out there calling the govt and supposed ‘experts’ out on their nonsense and dangerous ignorance, stupidity and general carelessness in providing solid legislation and structure for our once great industry. Somewhere deep inside me I think it is all too late, sadly. We have a world where politicians place 99.9% emphasis on what will get themselves re-elected (favourable soundbites & vid clips) and 0.1% on what is in the best interests of the people who pay them – the taxpayers. Don’t even start me on industry so called ‘expert consultants’. . . . ZERO ‘client best interest’ from these creatures. All things considered I can only defer to one word when thinking about how our industry has been legislated and run; CRIMINAL.

  2. great article, now go to the papers and let them know that LIF failed the consumer…. it was meant to make insurance more affordable and as we are now seeing premiums are being increased next month by all insurers but the one that will hurt the most is Resolution Life – premium are being lifted on their Level premiums that have been in force for 20-30 years by up to 80% – that is criminal and needs to be looked at…… The insurers are the ones ripping our clients off

  3. Best Interest Duty is killing me and my business. Pure and simple. It’s totally unfair and needs to be scrapped immediately.

    To add it to the FASEA exams, extra education, drop in income, extension of responsibility period and enormous overburden of compliance, is just not fair and evil.

    Give me the name of one other industry, anywhere in the world that’s had overregulation like this imposed on them.

    If ASIC thinks its okay to force an adviser to spend 12-15 hours going through a full fact find document to then have to generate an SOA or ROA for a client who only makes a small change to a policy that provides no payment to the adviser, then I say they’ve got “$&@$ for brains”.

    None of their public servants, with their guaranteed incomes care about this but advisers struggling to make ends meet do. This has to be abolished.

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