The Commission received 1,527 submissions identifying insurance as part of their dealings with financial services. Submissions referred to insurance products offered by insurers ranging from small to very large companies, products sold by the big four banks and other ADIs, and financial advisers and superannuation funds that acted as sales channels for life insurance.
The submissions received were varied and raised concerns across a spectrum of insurance products, including income protection, total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance, trauma and accident insurance, home and contents insurance, travel insurance, and comprehensive and compulsory third party motor vehicle insurance.
The Commission also received a number of submissions in relation to claims under state and territory workers compensation schemes. Issues relating to these schemes were not an area of focus for the Commission.
Submissions emphasised the impact of insurance claims being rejected, or of ongoing disputes with insurance companies, at times when the consumer was already vulnerable due to illness, injury, the death of a family member, or, in the context of general insurance, when a home was uninhabitable. Submissions also spoke about being unable to afford mounting costs for life insurance, particularly for older Australians reliant on their superannuation to support them.
Prior to the Round 6 public hearings, the Commission consulted with a number of community organisations, financial services entities, regulators and dispute resolution bodies in relation to consumer experiences with the life insurance and general insurance industry. This included consultations with, or information provided by ASIC; the Financial Ombudsman Service; the General Insurance Code Compliance Committee; Legal Aid NSW; Legal Aid QLD; the Financial Rights Legal Centre; the Consumer Law Action Centre; the Public Interest Advocacy Centre; beyondblue; and CHOICE. Information provided by these bodies assisted the Commission in identifying key issues and lines of inquiry.