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QBE forced to act over class action message to brokers

QBE has been ordered to send a corrective notice to brokers about a proposed class action, amid concerns it suggested intermediaries did not have to follow a court request to advise clients about registration.

The Federal Court last year approved wordings for a notice to be sent out inviting potential business interruption class action participants to register their interest.

Some 90,000 notices are being sent relating to class actions filed against Lloyd’s and QBE by Gordon Legal, and against IAG’s Insurance Australia and Hollard by Slater & Gordon. 

In the case of brokers, a previously approved covering email says the Federal Court requests that they provide a copy of the notice to clients. 

But Gordon Legal says it was alerted to a message sent by QBE to its brokers, before the official email, which suggested they did not have to inform clients about registering for the class action. 

The corrective notice that Justice Michael Lee ordered must be sent by the insurer says: “QBE apologises to you and the representative applicants in the class action for sending that email.”

It advises that the previous communication be ignored. 

QBE last week told it issued a “partner newsflash” on February 12 that provided an update on a “registration of interest” process the court has ordered the parties to undertake in the business interruption class action. 

“The partner newsflash was sent to give brokers advance notice of the court’s request so that they were able to make resources and time available to undertake the task,” the company said in a statement. 

“QBE did not tell brokers to ignore the court’s request that they assist in relation to the registration of interest process, but QBE has accepted that the February 12 2024 partner newsflash contained information that may have created an incorrect or misleading impression. So, QBE will shortly issue a corrective notice to brokers.”