The General Insurance Code of Practice is a set of high service standards that insurers agree to meet. By adopting the Code, insurers commit to openness, fairness and honesty in all their dealings with consumers and small businesses. The Code was created by the industry and is owned by the industry peak body, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). All ICA members offering products covered by the Code must adopt it. An independent Code Governance Committee monitors insurers to make sure they comply with the Code.
What the Code does
The Code sets out specific standards that insurers must meet whenever a consumer:
- buys insurance
- makes a claim
- is affected by a catastrophe
- experiences financial hardship
- or makes a complaint.
The Code drives insurers to continually improve, going beyond the legal bare minimum to provide excellent service to consumers.
What the Code covers
The Code covers most general insurance products bought by consumers and small businesses.
What is covered by the Code includes:
- car insurance
- home insurance
- contents insurance
- consumer credit insurance
- travel insurance
- pet insurance
- insurance for personal and domestic items including mobile phones, tablets and laptops
- motorbike and scooters insurance
- boat insurance
- sickness and accident insurance
- residential strata insurance
What isn’t covered
Subscribers to the Code
The Code applies to companies that have adopted or ‘subscribed’ to the Code. They are known as Code Subscribers. A list of Code Subscribers can be viewed here.
The current Code
The 2014 General Insurance Code of Practice came into effect on 1 July 2015, replacing the previous 2012 Code. The 2014 Code incorporated new financial hardship obligations and was widened to cover third party beneficiaries.
The ICA recently completed a review of the 2014 Code. The review recommended that the Code be strengthened, incorporating:
- stronger protections for vulnerable consumers, including people with mental health conditions and those experiencing family violence
- enhanced financial hardship provisions
- new product design and disclosure obligations
- new claims investigation standards.
The ICA is now revising the Code in line with these recommendations.
The current and previous versions of the Code can be accessed here.