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Job well done: ASIC praises insurers for COVID response

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The corporate regulator has reviewed the responses of general and life insurers to customers suffering hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was pleased with what it found.

But the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today wrote to directors of the major insurers outlining expected ongoing improvements that would help consumers when the next large-scale disaster rolls around.

“ASIC was pleased with insurers’ responsiveness to consumer needs during the pandemic,” it said.

“We were also pleased that all travel insurance providers we engaged with offered a refund of premiums paid by consumers for travel insurance policies affected by travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our review identified better practices and a number of areas where insurers could make improvements to support consumers experiencing hardship.

“ASIC has written to Australian life and general insurers about the improvements we expect them to make so that there are enduring supports in place to help consumers experiencing hardship.”

ASIC says insurers provided a “broad range” of support options to consumers affected by the pandemic so they could maintain insurance cover and lodge claims.

“Many insurers offered a wide range of options to consumers who had difficulty paying premiums or excesses,” the regulator says.

“ASIC expects insurers to review our letter and to integrate these hardship arrangements into their ongoing operations for a more complete and robust hardship framework.

“This will enable insurers to respond effectively to consumers who experience heightened financial vulnerability from other events including natural disasters such as floods and bushfires.”

Click here to read the letter.