3 The general insurance industry

A broad range of products are classified as ‘general insurance’ products, including:[1]

  • home insurance;
  • contents insurance;
  • motor vehicle insurance;
  • travel insurance; and
  • various types of ‘add-on’ insurance, including gap insurance and tyre and rim insurance.

In Australia, general insurance products are ordinarily sold in one of two ways. They may be sold directly to the customer, either online, by telephone, or in a branch. Alternatively, general insurance products may be sold through an intermediary such as a financial institution, car dealer, underwriting agency or insurance broker.

When general insurance is sold directly to a customer, or is sold through an intermediary other than an insurance broker, it will ordinarily be sold without financial advice or with general advice only. When it is sold through an insurance broker, the customer will usually have received personal financial advice.

[1] See generally Insurance Contracts Act ss 11(1) (definition of ‘contract of life insurance’) and 11(6).