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Government disbands Insurance Reform Advisory Group

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The Insurance Reform Advisory Group has been scrapped under Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s drive to cut bureaucracy.

Former assistant treasurer Bill Shorten set up the group after the 2011 floods, uniting insurers and their representatives, consumer groups and the Treasury and Attorney-General’s Department.

It usually met once a quarter to consider topics including travel insurance for older people, the industry’s disaster response and mental health issues affecting life and general cover.

National Insurance Brokers Association CEO Dallas Booth told insuranceNEWS.com.au the advisory group was an effective way to bring together various groups affected by insurance.

It was particularly successful in the areas of flood cover and natural disasters, but made little progress with mental health. Consumer groups complain a history of mental illness can affect people’s access to travel, life, total and permanent disability and income protection cover.

Mr Booth says the Government has given reassurances it will consult on relevant issues.

The Insurance Council of Australia says it has also been reassured that the Government remains open to exploring insurance issues with it and other key stakeholders.

“The [council] worked on a number of key insurance issues with [the advisory group] to ensure insurers’ views were represented and to contribute expert opinion.”