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Select each of the following General Insurance Code of Practice questions to reveal their associated answers.

What is the 2014 General Insurance
Code of Practice?

As an insurance professional, you need to acknowledge the reality that the relationships you build with your customers will either make or break your organisation's success.

The General Insurance Code of Practice (the Code):

  • sets the minimum customer service standards for general insurers
  • seeks to enhance and clarify consumer rights in plain English
  • sets out clear processes and timeframes for claims, complaints, requests for information and other service commitments.
What is the purpose of the Code?

The Code is designed to raise the service standards of code subscribers in a number of areas, including:

  • how employees and other service providers are trained
  • buying insurance
  • insurance claims and claims handling timeframes
  • financial hardship
  • repairing workmanship and materials
  • responding to catastrophes and disasters
  • complaints handling.

The Code also commits insurers to more informed relationships with their customers.

How is the new Code different to the previous Codes?

As part of the move to plain English the Code has been expanded into more sections:

Learn more.

2012 Code 2014 Code Comments
  1. Introduction
  1. Introduction
  2. Objectives
  3. Application

Defines wholesale and retail insurance

Identifies section specifically relating to retail

  1. Buying insurance
  1. Buying Insurance (Retail insurance only)

Covers the same issues regarding buying insurance

 
  1. Standards for our employees and authorised representatives

Separated out from 'buying insurance' and 'insurance claims' where it was previously located.

 
  1. Standards for our service suppliers (Retail insurance only)

Separated out from 'Insurance claims' where it was previously located. Talks about service suppliers rather than service providers

  1. Insurance claims
  1. Claims (Retail insurance only)

Covers the same issues regarding processing claims

 
  1. Financial hardship

Separated from 'insurance claims' and expanded significantly

  1. Responding to catastrophes and disasters
  1. Catastrophes (Retail insurance only)

Similar

  1. Information and education
  1. Information and Education

Similar

  1. Complaints handling procedures
  1. Complaints and disputes (Retail insurance only)

Renames the internal complaint resolution process as stage 1 and stage 2. Refers to the insured's complaint throughout, rather than using the term dispute as was previously done. The external dispute process explains FOS's role

 
  1. Code governance (Code Governance Committee (CGC))
New. Explains the structure and responsibilities of the CGC.
  1. Code monitoring and enforcement
  1. Monitoring, Enforcement and sanctions

The CGC replaces FOS's role in enforcement of the Code. The CGC will monitor and enforce the Code rather than monitor and report which FOS used to do.

 
  1. Access to information
Referred to throughout the Code. Aligns with the Privacy Act.
Definitions Definitions Some additional definitions have been included.
What are the Code's objectives?

According to the General Insurance Code of Practice (2014), the objectives of the Code are to:

  1. to commit us to high standards of service;
  2. to promote better, more informed relations between us and you;
  3. to maintain and promote trust and confidence in the general insurance industry;
  4. to provide fair and effective mechanisms for the resolution of Complaints and disputes between us and you; and
  5. to promote continuous improvement of the general insurance industry through education and training.
For what general insurance products does the Code provide coverage?

Nearly all types of general insurance are covered by the Code of Practice. These include:

  • motor vehicle (comprehensive and third-party property)
  • home building
  • home contents
  • sickness and accident
  • consumer credit
  • travel insurance
  • personal and domestic property
For what general insurance products does the Code not provide coverage?

According to the Code of Practice website, the types of general insurance not covered by the Code are:

  • reinsurance (insurance for insurers)
  • insurance that has specific rules under government statute (for example, workers compensation, marine insurance, medical indemnity insurance and motor vehicle injury insurance).

The Code also does not cover life and health insurance products issued by life insurers or registered health insurers as these products are governed under different laws and regulations.

Which organisations have adopted the Code?

On 10 February 2014 the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) announced the release of the new Code, effective from 1 July 2014 with a 12-month transition period for Code Participants.

Members of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) offering products covered by the Code must adopt the Code by June 30, 2015.

Check to see if your organisation has adopted the Code.

Who monitors the code?

The ICA has created the Code Governance Committee (CGC), the new independent body that oversees the Code to ensure compliance is effectively monitored and enforced.

What are the responsibilities of those who monitor the code?

According to an ICA Media Release, the duties of the CGC set out in the Code and the CGC Charter include:

  • receiving reports of alleged Code breaches from consumers
  • receiving reports of possible Code breaches from the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • investigating reports of alleged Code breaches and making determinations
  • agreeing with Code subscribers on any corrective measures to remedy Code breaches and monitoring their implementation
  • imposing sanctions on Code subscribers in certain circumstances
  • receiving compliance reports from Code subscribers
  • publishing an annual report on the activities of the CGC
  • providing any recommendations on Code policy improvements in its quarterly reports to the ICA Board.
The Code and other legislation

The Code particularly takes into account the following legislation: