Guidance for good industry practice
The objective of the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice is to ensure high client service standards are maintained for the benefit of consumers; and to increase trust and confidence in the insurance broking industry.
The Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee (the Committee) believes that educating others and sharing experiences helps to improve industry practice.
The Committee does this by:
- investigating Code breaches
- engaging with stakeholders
- highlighting good and bad practices
- sharing experiences and information
- identifying emerging risks and issues
- guiding compliance improvements.
The Committee engages with Code subscribers, industry, regulators and consumer advocates. Every year, the Committee engages with Code subscribers to discuss their completion of the Annual Compliance Statement and to seek clarification of their data and responses.
The Committee also communicates with Code subscribers through our ‘Tip of the Month’ articles in Insurance Adviser magazine during the year. The Committee holds regular meetings with executive staff and ombudsmen from the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) and presents at various AFCA general insurance open forums on Code matters.
The Committee meets with stakeholders in our industry including NIBA, ASIC and Treasury. The Committee also meets regularly with consumer advocates. The Committee attends and presents at various stakeholder conferences throughout the year.
The Committee’s expectations of subscribers
Following a review of an alleged Code breach, the Committee expects Code subscribers to:
- positively engage with the Committee
- thoroughly review the incident to assess if it constitutes a breach of the Code
- report the breach in their breach register (if a breach of the Code has occurred)
- report the breach to executive management
- identify all clients potentially affected by the events
- assess if the breach is systemic and/or significant
- take remedial action to address the cause of non-compliance
- review and enhance processes and procedure
- train staff and authorised representatives accordingly.
Why the Committee investigates
Our investigations determine if an insurance broker has complied with their Code obligations when providing insurance broking services to consumers. Our focus is on helping the insurance broker fix any issues to reduce impact on clients in the future.
The Committee does not:
- provide compensation – that is the role of external dispute resolution bodies such as the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) or courts and tribunals
- issue fines or penalties – that is the role of regulators such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
When the Committee investigates
We can only investigate in the following circumstances:
- the insurance broker must be a subscriber to the Code
- the service took place in Australia
- the matter must involve an individual or small business
- the issue must be covered in the Code.
The Committee has compiled a list of resources that may help insurance brokers:
Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
AFCA is a fair and independent external dispute resolution (EDR) service for consumers. It replaced the Financial Ombudsman Services (Australia) Ltd (FOS).
National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA)
NIBA is the peak body of the insurance broking profession in Australia.
Council of Queensland Insurance Brokers (CQIB)
CQIB is a professional association representing Queensland insurance brokers.
Steadfast Group Limited
Steadfast Group Limited is one of the largest insurance broker networks in Australasia with access to over 160 products and services.
Austbrokers is a network of professional insurance and risk advisers.
The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)
ANZIIF is the leading membership, education, training and professional development organisation for the insurance and finance industry in the Asia-Pacific region.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
ASIC is an independent Australian Government body set up to administer the Australian Security and Investments Commission Act 2001.
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
OAIC is the independent national regulator for privacy and freedom of information.
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
APRA is an independent statutory authority that supervises institutions across banking, insurance and superannuation.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
The ACCC is Australia’s competition regulator and national consumer law advocate.