Taking action on recommendation 4.8 of the Banking, Superannuation & Financial Services Royal Commission
On 4 February 2019, the Government released its response to recommendations made by the Financial Services Royal Commission’s final report to remove the exclusion of insurance claims handling from the definition of ‘financial service’.
The Royal Commission recommended that the handling and settlement of insurance claims be included in the definition of ‘financial service’ and stated that it should not be unreasonable to ask an insurer to handle claims efficiently, honestly and fairly.
The Government is supportive of this recommendation as it will allow the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to enforce a higher standard of behaviour and ensure the consumer can expect the same standard from insurers handling claims as they can from all financial service providers.
The Government acknowledges there are industry concerns with the removal of the exemption leading to a number of unintended consequences. For example, claims handling staff may be deemed as providing personal financial advice. As such, a consultation paper follows and seeks stakeholder views on the underlying issues.
Responses to the consultation paper will assist in identifying these issues so that the Royal Commissions recommendation can be implemented without increasing regulatory complexity while ensuring insurers are subject to appropriate obligations.