The release of the FSC’s Life Insurance Code of Practice has received the support of some of the country’s major life insurers as an important agreement to further build consumer trust in the industry.
The FSC announced yesterday that the code will require insurers to improve disclosure to customers, provide greater transparency in communications, decide claims within set timeframes, limit the use of surveillance, and provide additional support for vulnerable customers.
The code is mandatory for FSC members and is governed by an independent body that will ensure compliance, the FSC said.
Speaking at the FSC launch yesterday, AIA Australia chief executive Damien Mu endorsed the code, saying the industry needs to continually improve practices and ensure it does better by consumers.
“We have heard from sections of the community that we need to do more to improve trust and confidence in life insurance and ensure higher standards across the board, particularly in how we handle and process claims,” Mr Mu said.
“Despite our best intentions and efforts we also know that we need to do better in how we communicate and engage customers, and improve the understanding of the product and benefits we deliver as an industry.”
TAL chief executive Brett Clark said in a statement the release of the code should be seen as the start of the journey for the industry, not the end.
“As an industry, we should expect and demand to be held to the highest standards, and it is our challenge now to continue pursuing progress on this Code of Practice to ensure we ultimately deliver greater trust and confidence in the life insurance industry amongst all Australians,” Mr Clark said.
MLC Life Insurance chief executive David Hackett said in a statement the code is customer-focused and the right thing to do.
“Consumer trust is built on honesty, transparency, speediness and clarity of communication, as well as dependable claims processes,” Mr Hackett said.
“The Code sets the industry on a clear path to increase trust and ensure that all Australians can continue to benefit from life insurance products that provide security and peace of mind.”
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