Brought to you by:
Coverforce
Coverforce

Brokers code review criticised as deadline for submissions nears

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google

The review process for the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice has been attacked by a consumer group, ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for submissions.

As reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au, the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) was criticised last year over significant delays to the review. The current code dates back to 2014, and reviews are intended to be carried out every three years.

The Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee annual review warned of a “serious erosion of consumer confidence in NIBA and the industry” due to the delays and an alleged lack of transparency.

In February NIBA launched consultation on a discussion paper and “proposed changes for consideration”.

insuranceNEWS.com.au understands that consumer groups are putting together a joint submission under the banner of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, but the Financial Rights Legal Centre has already expressed its disappointment with the review process and documents released.

It says greater consultation should have been carried out at an earlier stage and that it will be harder for stakeholders to influence the process now that the NIBA board has put forward proposed changes.

“[NIBA has] put together a draft that is completely legalistic and in parts unreadable,” Policy and Advocacy Officer Drew MacRae told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“The process has gone on too long, and needed more input from stakeholders before the documents were drafted.”

Mr MacRae says the code should “simply put forward commitments to the consumer” and that NIBA’s proposals “do not do that at this point”.

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth told insuranceNEWS.com.au that a round of consultation, which involved lawyers representing consumer groups, did take place “early in the piece”.

“All of that was taken into account when looking at the draft revised code,” he said. “I felt that the next development was for the NIBA board to form its view.”

Mr Booth says work will be done to improve readability, and graphic design elements may be introduced, but that getting the content right was the initial priority.

He says submissions will be considered by the independent reviewer, and any criticisms and suggestions will be discussed further.

“If we can [move forward] through a large measure of consensus, then that’s great,” he said.

“But at the end of the day the NIBA board will make a decision about the final code. It is their code.”

Click here to access the review documents and to make a submission.