Brought to you by:

Industry urged to do more for family violence victims

The Life Code Compliance Committee has urged the industry to go beyond base requirements and better support customers who are victims of domestic violence.

The committee made the call after reviewing subscribers’ compliance with the code’s new obligation to have a policy online setting out how assistance will be given to affected customers.

All but one of 16 insurers that subscribe to the code have published the required policy on their websites, the review found. The one life insurer that was noncompliant with the obligation, promptly addressed the matter following the committee's engagement with them.

Policies are relatively easy to locate on “additional support” pages or via the websites’ search functions, and the information is compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones.

However, the committee believes the industry can do better.

It says its report includes good practice examples that will help companies “improve their approach beyond the base level required by the code”.

One example suggests insurers make a prominent, clear statement that people should call 000 if they or a family member are in immediate danger or in an emergency. Very few subscribers present this information prominently on their website landing pages or in their policies.

In another example, insurers should utilise “quick exit” buttons on their websites. The low-cost feature allows for swift navigation away from a site in the event of interruption by a perpetrator.

“Currently, only two life insurers provide quick exit buttons on their websites,” the committee says. “This needs to be adopted more broadly.”

Council of Australian Life Insurers CEO Christine Cupitt has welcomed the report’s findings.

“We understand deeply how important it is to put the needs of victim-survivors at the centre of our approach,” she told today. “These findings will help guide our important and ongoing work to ensure that Australians experiencing family and domestic violence are supported when they interact with their life insurer.

“We’re encouraged by the ... report, which identifies areas of good practice and welcomes the industry’s commitment to review and improve family and domestic violence guidance.”

The updated code took effect on July 1 last year, introducing new provisions requiring subscribers to have family violence policies available online for customers.

Click here for the code committee report.