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Code compliance committee urges brokers to focus on culture

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The percentage of subscribers who self-reported code breaches fell to 44% in the 2020/21 financial year from 51% in the prior period, according to the latest report from the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee.

The committee says the drop is “concerning”, reiterating it will continue to push for improved practices and conduct from intermediaries.

“The law has a critical role to play but simple and sole ‘lawfulness’ is not a guarantee of appropriate service,” Committee Chairman Michael Gill said.

“Thus, the committee sees its role as undertaking a robust monitoring above legal compliance and bringing increasing understanding and attention to the role that culture plays in delivering service.”

He says the committee will continue to support code subscribers to identify and implement best practice behaviours that deliver positive client outcomes.

“Our compliance monitoring work will be key to this and we’ll remain focused on ensuring our subscribers continue to embrace the robust self-reporting system that is so critical to both identify and address existing and emerging problems in the industry,” Mr Gill said.

A spokesman for the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) told the broking peak body is reviewing the report “carefully” and will respond in due course.

The code compliance committee says work is underway to prepare a detailed analysis of the report’s findings, which will be released at a later date as part of the annual data report.

For this report, it has decided to only provide a summary of self-reported breaches and complaints data instead of an analysis, so that it can share the findings more quickly with subscribers for their consideration and application to their businesses.

It says the change is approach is due to a 56% rise in code subscribers, as all Steadfast brokers joined the code community in December 2019.

The expanded code membership significantly increased the volume of data required to be verified and the level of support needed to ensure data could be appropriately interpreted.

According to the committee, the 56% rise in new subscribers means it is difficult to meaningfully compare this year’s data with that of previous years.

In other key report findings, the number of self-reported breaches increased to 3328 from 2006. About half of code breaches since 2017 relate to Service Standard 5 “Buying Insurance” and about a quarter concern Service Standard 1 “Legal Obligations”.

In relation to complaints, the number of self-reported cases increased to 1778 from 1292. About 68% of complaints were resolved within 21 days, up from 59%.

Click here for the code compliance committee report.