In July 2021, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) adopted a new Code of Conduct for insurers to identify standards of service and timeframes for responding to claims, complaints and customer enquiries.
The new Code of Conduct covers all retail insurance products, (including car, home, property and travel insurance) and some wholesale insurance products provided to businesses.
The Code of Conduct does not apply to workers compensation, marine, medical indemnity, domestic builders insurance including warranty and indemnity insurance.
The new Code of Conduct is designed to be easier to read and understand, provides greater support to those experiencing vulnerability and financial hardship, strengthens sanctions and introduced a mandatory process for claims investigators.
According to the ICA, the updated Code strengthens customer protections in line with community expectations and underscores the industry’s commitment to openness, fairness and honesty in all dealings with customers.
The ICA Media Release summarises the key features as being;
- New sanctions for significant Code breaches of up to $100,000 in the form of Community Benefit Payments
- A requirement for insurers to provide cost comparisons between new and previous policies on renewal notices
- Ensures insurers remain responsible for the quality of repair work undertaken on their behalf
- Streamlines the complaints process and creates mandatory standards for claims investigators
- Setting out clear timeframes to respond to claims, complaints and information requests
- Ensuring cash settlements are better explained
Most large general insurers subscribe to the ICA Code of Conduct – you can find out if your insurer subscribes HERE.
The General Insurance Code Governance Committee (CGC) supported by a “Code Team” at Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), independently monitors the Code to ensure companies are meeting their obligations and achieving service standards consumers can trust.
Consumers and brokers can report an insurer for breaching the code of conduct via the online portal https://insurancecode.org.au/report-a-concern/
However, if you are questioning the determination of a specific claim, seeking additional compensation for your claim or have a problem with your individual insurance, you should first report your concern to your broker who will help you address the complaint with your insurer and/or the AFCA.