Launch event introductory remarks
By Sally Loane
Welcome everyone and thanks for coming in relatively early on a Monday morning. It’s great to see such a variety of our life insurer members here with us.
Today is a big day for the life insurance industry, as we release the draft FSC Life Insurance Code of Practice for public consultation.
Today, we begin the difficult but achievable task of rebuilding the standing of the sector, a sector which has been under the microscope following the poor behaviour brought to light during the Royal Commission – and several reports and inquiries.
We hope to demonstrate that the life insurance industry is serious about improving its products, practices and governance.
The draft Code
There will be a radical overhaul of the current Code, which came into effect last July. And why are we strengthening the Code so soon?
Because we are listening and acting on the concerns and issues raised by ASIC, the Parliamentary Joint Committee Inquiry and, of course, the Royal Commission hearings.
It’s time for the life insurance industry to begin a rebuild with a new consumer code of practice.
The new proposed Code is designed to lift standards in product design, sales, underwriting, customer service, complaints and claims handling.
More than 30 significant draft changes have been made to practices that govern the way our member life insurers will treat customers under the new Code – which will take effect next July.
Those changes have been determined on consultation with ASIC and consumer advocates, and meetings with mental health groups, GPs and geneticists during the past 18 months.
For the first time, we’ll be holding public consultation on the draft Code so the community can share their views.
Beginning tomorrow, the FSC will hold three public meetings in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney – where anyone with an interest in the Code can attend, ask questions and provide feedback.
The public can also make written submissions on the draft Code here.
In addition to the public forums, we will hold consultations to engage with the mental health community, indigenous groups, religious support agencies and the broader consumer movement.
We will also ask ASIC to participate in these stakeholder consultations, to provide their perspectives and to ensure the engagement is effective.
Ultimately, we want a Code that serves the needs and best interests of consumers.
I will now hand over to FSC Senior Policy Manager Nick Kirwan, the author of the Code, to take us through the major changes.