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ASIC granted stronger powers on insurance

Legislation handing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission greater powers to deal with breaches of duty by insurers in claims handling has been passed by parliament.

In a statement welcoming the passage of the legislation, financial services minister Bill Shorten said the Insurance Contracts Amendment Bill 2013 “continues the Government's efforts to reduce the burden of regulation on business and consumers”.

“The new reforms will remove impediments to the use of electronic communication for statutory notices and documents; give increased powers to the regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, to take action to address breaches of the duty of utmost good faith by insurers, including in respect of claims handling; and make the duty of disclosure easier for consumers to understand and comply with, especially at renewal of household/domestic insurance contracts,” the statement said.

Mr Shorten said the reforms would bring the insurance industry in line with other industries.