Weight added to need for a royal commission, says senator

Nationals Senator John Williams says that revelations of poor insurance claims outcomes for clients by CommInsure may lead to a "push" for a royal commission into the financial services sector.

Speaking to ifa following reports by Four Corners and Fairfax which exposed the unfair processing of life insurance claims by CommInsure, Mr Williams said he thinks these events are "going to add" to the case for the need for a royal commission.

Mr Williams explained that the Senate Economics References Committee is currently looking further into the insurance sector and CommInsure as part of the inquiry into the scrutiny of financial advice.

"I don’t know what the committee will recommend... [but] if it is as serious as what Four Corners has highlighted the committee may well choose to push for a royal commission," Mr Williams said.

"If they did [recommend a royal commission] they would have weight from the last recommendation made... for a royal commission into Commonwealth Financial Planning."

"We are there to represent the people and if the people are getting done over then we have to do something about it," he said.

Mr Williams added that he recently called for an extension for the senate committee's inquiry so it could investigate the insurance sector more closely.

"Last week I altered the terms of reference from the Economics References Committee for the [scrutiny of financial advice inquiry] to now include the life insurance industry, how it operates, how it handles claims, [and] whether a code of conduct is needed," he said.

"I think we are going to learn a hell of a lot," he said.

Meanwhile, the events involving CommInsure has led Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson to reiterate calls for the need of royal commission into the financial services industry, with the senator stating that the banks need to be put under the "highest level of scrutiny".

"The coercive powers of a royal commission are essential to see how far and how high this problem goes," he said.

"The major parties have ducked this issue so far. My question to them is, how many scandals will it take? How many people need to be dudded before they are willing to take this issue seriously?"

“In recent years, misconduct has been uncovered in three of the four major banks and a number of other smaller banks. They should be handing out a scandal of the month award," he said.

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0 #4 Scott 2016-03-10 16:53
In reply to Joe, John Williams has an issue with banks going back many years to a loan involving his then family farm and swiss francs I believe. From hearing him speak I feel he has some feelings for financial planners in general but doesn't understand the industry and has believed the information which has been pushed by the FSC, ASIC and ISA He truly doesn't understand what impact the proposed changes will have on the industry and puts Financial Planners into the same category as banks who I don't believe he thinks should be trusted.
0 #3 Risky Business 2016-03-09 22:50
Quoting Joe:

Anyone know exactly why Williams, a National Senator,has a beef with our industry? Some prior soured personal experience or perhaps the ISA has gotten to him so he's is pushing with the lefts?

I was wondering the same thing about our dear Adele... Although the Walkleys go a little way to explaining that particular witch hunt!
0 #2 Joe 2016-03-09 11:33
While I fully endorse a review into the Insurance companies and particularly Comminsure given the latest revelations, I am still curious about the motivations of this particular senator, as he is stridently vocal against our entire industry.

Anyone know exactly why Williams, a National Senator,has a beef with our industry? Some prior soured personal experience or perhaps the ISA has gotten to him so he's is pushing with the lefts?

What has his stand and public media exposure been with the investigations into Union corruption and alleged ISA corruption - any calls for a RC?
0 #1 CBA make me sick 2016-03-09 10:02
CBA, have to be banned from Financial services.

Product and Advice, they have failed their requirement at every turn and proven they are not fit and proper people to be running a garage sale let alone a company that has peoples future and lives in their hands.

And then line up the Industry super funds for not knowing the product and representing their insurance offering as better then it is. They took a low cost Group option and have let down their members.

Enough is Enough.

I am today closing all my CBA products.

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