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ICA calls for uniform surveillance framework

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has urged Queensland to work within a national program to streamline privacy and surveillance legislation.

In a submission to the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s consultation paper review of laws on civil surveillance and privacy protection amid emerging technologies, ICA says it has “consistently advocated for a national set of privacy and surveillance rules”.

“As a minimum feature, the Insurance Council supports the commission’s view that the Queensland legislative framework should ‘aim to achieve reasonable consistency with the regulation of civil surveillance in other Australian jurisdictions’,” it says.

Reform to the state’s legislative framework on civil surveillance should avoid unnecessary overlap with surveillance and privacy laws already in place, ICA says.

It supports a licensing system for investigation agents, which would ensure that, when deemed necessary, surveillance can be used to probe claims in an appropriate and proportionate manner.

Private investigators must be licensed under the present state legislation, which excludes a person carrying on the business of insurance or an insurance adjustment agency and performing the functions of their profession.

“ICA submits that the ability of insurers and their agents to appropriately conduct legitimate surveillance activities is critical to the successful operation of their businesses.

“It is also critical that insurers are able to investigate fraudulent or exaggerated claims by both policyholders and by third parties against policyholders.”

Fraudulent claims cost the industry more than $2 billion a year.