Will you be affected by the Royal Commission into misconduct in general insurance?

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth has assured members that the association is monitoring the situation around the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry very carefully as the Terms of Reference that have been released indicate that the potential scope of the inquiry are very broad.

Booth has said, “Given the lack of evidence of any serious or systemic issues or concerns in relation to insurance broking in Australia – as evidenced by comments by ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell and General Insurance Ombudsman John Price at the NIBA Convention in September – it may well be that the Royal Commission will not address insurance broking issues at all.”

He also stressed, “NIBA will look at whether we can take the opportunity to explain the important role insurance brokers play in providing advice and support for their clients, acting in the best interests of their clients, and being the advocate of their client in times of claims.”

The Government has indicated that the Royal Commission is not to inquire into any matter that is the subject of a current inquiry or investigation, or is the subject of court proceedings. Also, the Royal Commission is intended to focus on matters which have greater potential for harm if not addressed quickly. The Royal Commission will also have the power to decline to look at matters that are otherwise in the Terms of Reference.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan has said, “The general insurance industry is ready to contribute to the Turnbull Government’s Royal Commission into the financial services sector. Though the calls for a formal inquiry have focused on the banks, the Insurance Council of Australia hopes the Royal Commission will end political uncertainty and improve public confidence in the insurance sector.”

Over the past six years the general insurance industry has contributed to numerous government-initiated inquiries and reports including the comprehensive Financial System Inquiry, the Senate inquiry into general insurance, the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce, Henry Tax Review, Queensland Floods Inquiry, and three Australian Government Actuary reports.

Whelan said, “The inquiries have concluded that the general insurance industry, which pays more than 97 per cent of claims, does not have systemic issues that need addressing.”

The Royal Commission is to provide a report and recommendations to the Government within 12 months. This will tend to limit the number and nature of issues the Royal Commission will be able to deal with to the most important areas of misconduct in the financial services system.

Any member who has questions or concerns in relation to the Royal Commission should contact NIBA CEO Dallas Booth at: dbooth@niba.com.au