Suncorp Insurance CEO Gary Dransfield has been appointed President of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and Chairman of the Board for a two-year term starting in January 2020.
“It’s a great honour to be elected President of the Insurance Council and Chairman of the Board during this critical time for our industry,” Dransfield said.
“We must, as an industry, embrace the Government’s reform agenda and focus on delivering good customer outcomes, including implementing our new General Insurance Code of Practice.”
The ICA Board also approved the industry’s new General Insurance Code of Practice, after one of the most extensive reviews in its 25-year history.
The Code sets out standards that are above and beyond legal requirements and aims to meet and anticipate consumer expectations.
The ICA says the Code has been comprehensively updated and rewritten to further enhance the rights and expectations that customers can have about their relationship with their insurer.
It will be formally launched early next year, with ICA members and other Code participants starting to transition from 1 January, with all signatories required to be compliant by 1 January.
Key features of the new General Insurance Code of Practice
Plain English: A comprehensive plain-English rewrite ensures it is an easy-to-read and accessible document for consumers
Vulnerability: The revised Code includes a new section and specific provisions for customers experiencing vulnerability. This includes the requirement for firms to have a policy to support customers experiencing family violence in place by July 1, 2020, a requirement that appropriate employees are trained to understand if a customer may be vulnerable and specific provisions regarding mental health
Enhanced financial hardship provisions: Financial hardship provisions have been strengthened and include requirements for employees and agents involved in debt collection to be trained on the Financial Hardship requirements of the Code
Enhanced sanction powers for the Code Governance Committee: The revised Code has been amended to extend the CGC’s ability to sanction in the event of a Code breach. The Code has also streamlined the process the CGC needs to undertake before imposing a breach
Community benefit payment: The CGC will be able to require an insurer that has committed a significant breach to pay a community benefit payment. The payment is up to a maximum of $100,000 and will be determined in accordance with the insurer’s gross underwritten premium and number of customers. The community benefit payment is a type of sanction unique to the General Insurance Code of Practice
Cash settlements and scope of works: Subscribers will need to provide consumers with information on cash settlements so that they are better informed. A provision for scope of works similarly aims to help consumers understand this process
Investigation standards: Mandatory standards for claims investigators have been introduced. The standards include timeframes for updating a customer on the investigation process, requirements regarding requests for information and requirements as to how the investigation interview should be conducted