Your Industry Code of Practice aims to lift service standards and to foster professionalism, positive culture and trust. Now you need to ensure your clients are aware of the Code and your commitment to it.
The Insurance Brokers Code of Practice (the Code) promotes open, fair, honest and timely dealings with consumers. Ensuring that clients know about the Code and the standards it sets is a way to demonstrate up front that you are committed to creating professional relationships built on trust. This awareness is so important that promoting the Code is a Code requirement in itself.
Service Standard 11 requires subscribers to make information about the Code available to clients. The independent committee that monitors the Code believes this is best done by including the information on your websites.
Service Standard 11 – We will support NIBA [the National Insurance Brokers Association] in promoting the Code and make information on the Code (including how to make a complaint) and our Covered Services readily available to you.
Code subscribers should review their website to make sure that information about the Code is clear and easy for clients to access.
As part of its verification program following this year’s Annual Compliance Statement, the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee (the Committee) reviewed subscribers’ websites to identify how they promote the Code.
The verification program, which was conducted between May and September 2021, also involved in-depth discussions with 10% of those who subscribe to the Code to validate their breach reporting and gain valuable insights into the day-to-day management of their Code compliance obligations.
How to improve your website in this area
Findings from the Committee’s review of subscriber websites led to a number of recommendations aimed to improve promotion of the Code:
- Display information about the Code on the ‘About Us’ or ‘Home’ page of your website.
- Code information should include the 12 Service Standards of the Code and the benefits and rights under the Code.
- Code information should present clear and concise guidance on where and how to raise a Code breach concern (e.g. https://insurancebrokerscode.com.au/consumers-2/report-an-issue/).
- Provide a link to a copy of the Code.
Make sure you are promoting the correct Code in a clear way
All subscribers to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice are required to promote the Code but, in its review, the Committee observed that a number of Code subscribers also stated on their websites that they subscribe to the 2020 General Insurance Code of Practice (2020 GI Code).
In certain circumstances, insurance brokers may be required to comply with the 2020 GI Code under a binder agreement with general insurance providers as a distributor or service supplier.
It is important that insurance brokers clearly identify in what capacity they are required to comply with obligations under the General Insurance Code of Practice and, where appropriate, explain their relationship with insurance providers as a distributor and/or service supplier.
This can be done by having a separate heading or page to differentiate between the two industry codes and the subscriber’s respective obligations under each code.
The Code works for everyone
Complying with an industry Code is hard work, especially in an evolving, complex sector like ours. It demands ongoing, thorough commitment from every corner of an organisation. Insurance brokers who subscribe to the Code do so because they want to show that they conduct themselves professionally and fairly and can be trusted to meet the standards they have subscribed to. Clearly informing clients and prospective clients about those standards is not just meeting a Code requirement, it is literally flagging your pursuit of good practice.