Petition launched to halt LIF legislation

The life insurance reform legislation remains a hot-button topic in the advice industry and now a group of advisers and dealer group heads have launched a petition to halt it in its tracks.

Speaking to ifa sister publication, Risk Adviser, Mark Dunsford, director of dealer group Now Financial Group, said the group of advisers and dealer group heads – known as the Life Insurance Customer Group (LICG) – is seeking 5,000 signatures in an effort to encourage the government to abandon the insurance reform legislation.

"What we are standing for is to get a petition of every adviser and staff member in Australia who is not comfortable with the Life Insurance Framework reforms," Mr Dunsford said.

The group is taking the initiative to ensure clients do not lose out on obtaining affordable risk advice, he said.

He added that small advice businesses and the government will also lose under the proposed legislation.

Forming the LICG, along with Mr Dunsford, is Bombora Advice head Wayne Handley; Life Insurance Direct chief executive Russell Cain; Empire Risk director and senior adviser Daniel Isenhood; GJO Financial Services CEO Greg Owen; and Lambert Parkhill Financial Group managing director Ron Lambert.

Also forming part of the group are Synchron state manager for NSW, Paul Del Grande; managing director of Foundation Life Insurance and Mortgage Broking Patrick McLaughlin; David and Lisa Bourke of risk specialist practice Bourke Financial; and Perri & Associates managing director Joe Perri.

The petition – available via the Life Insurance Customer Group's website at licg.com.au – states that the group does not agree that the reforms will achieve "improved quality advice to consumers"; ensure strong competition stays in place; ensure consumers continue to have choice when choosing an adviser; or ensure all Australians have access to affordable advice.

Responding to the initiative, FSC chief executive Sally Loane said the Life Insurance Framework "was developed by the industry over the past year and it is there for a very good reason".

"It was developed in response to a damning ASIC report which found high upfront commissions encouraged industry practices which were not aligned to consumer interests," she said.

"The new reform package, combined with the FSC's code of practice, will promote positive consumer outcomes."

Commenting on the group's efforts, AFA chief executive Brad Fox said the association will continue to be "actively engaged" in representing the interests of advisers and their clients.

"Public, government and market pressures indicated that the status quo of the life insurance industry could not remain," Mr Fox said.

"The AFA has been and will continue to be actively engaged with government and industry stakeholders."

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