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SME Ombudsman’s inquiry response ‘overwhelming’

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The Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says the public response to an insurance inquiry announced by her office two weeks ago has been “overwhelming”.

The inquiry has received 264 business responses to an online survey as of this morning.

“While we are only in the early stages of the inquiry, it is clear the small business community supports the work we are doing in this area,” Ms Carnell said.

She called the inquiry in response to complaints about policy denials and soaring prices, and will look at issues including exclusions and the fitness for purpose of market offerings.

“I’m particularly concerned about a number of cases where small businesses with current insurance policies have been subjected to major changes that have reduced their coverage without their consent, and with no refund of premiums,” Ms Carnell says.

“Our inquiry will look at this in more detail and consider if these practices amount to unfair contract terms.”

The inquiry has called for businesses to complete an online survey by August 30 and says industry stakeholders are welcome to send submissions to inquiries@asbfeo.gov.au by the end of next week.

A final report is expected to be released in December.