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21 May 2013
The ongoing review of the General Insurance Code of Practice is more thorough than past overhauls so it can “crack… unresolved issues that have lingered for some time”, according to independent reviewer Ian Enright.
The process aims to tackle issues such as financial hardship and claims-handling guidelines, he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
It features “broader and deeper” consultation than in the past because of the desire to fix long-standing problems and because the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) is considering registering the code under new Australian Securities and Investments Commission regulations.
Mr Enright says community anger at the industry’s performance following the 2010/11 natural disasters has also influenced the review, which was brought forward a year after the catastrophes.
“It’s time for the turning of a page,” he said.
Responses to the review’s issues paper closed at the end of last month. Mr Enright says there have been nine submissions, although insuranceNEWS.com.au understands a number are yet to be filed.
The next phase involves public consultation, with interested parties able to schedule one-on-one sessions with the independent reviewer.
Late last week Mr Enright told insuranceNEWS.com.au just two meetings had been scheduled for today’s Melbourne consultation, with none for Wednesday’s Sydney session.
But “given the breadth of discussions” he has had so far, he is not surprised or concerned at the apparent lack of interest.
Public consultation sessions will also be held in Ipswich, Wagga Wagga, Shepparton and Perth in February. Mr Enright says other regional centres may be added, with dates and locations to be, in part, dictated by natural disasters that may occur during the summer.
He will submit his final report to the ICA board in May, which as “owner and guardian” of the code will decide which, if any, recommendations to adopt.
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