The new 2020 General Insurance Code of Practice

The Insurance Council of Australia has introduced a new General Insurance Code of Practice (2020 Code). You can read the new 2020 Code here.

The ICA has also provided Code subscribers with the following four guides to support their implementation of the 2020 Code:

Some parts of the 2020 Code will apply to Code subscribers from 1 July 2020, and the remainder will apply to them from 1 July 2021, as outlined below.

By 1 July 2020 Code subscribers must:

  • have their policies to support customers affected by family violence available on their websites
  • provide support for customers who are experiencing vulnerability including financial hardship within the spirit and intention of the key provisions in Part 9 Supporting customers experiencing vulnerability and Part 10 Financial Hardship of the 2020 Code.

Part 9 commits Code subscribers to taking extra care with vulnerable customers and includes:

  • working with vulnerable customers to arrange additional support or assistance
  • developing internal processes and procedures that take into account customers who have a past or current mental health condition, and
  • taking a flexible approach to supporting customers to meet identification and verification requirements.

Part 10 requires Code subscribers to identify and work with customers and other individuals in financial hardship who owe money to them. Some of the key provisions of Part 10 require Code subscribers to:

  • give to a person a financial hardship form to apply for financial hardship support
  • assess the person’s request for financial hardship assistance and place recovery action on hold during this assessment, and
  • if entitled to financial hardship assistance, work with the person to put in place an arrangement regarding the money that is owed.

By 1 January 2021 Code subscribers must be fully compliant with Parts 9 and 10 of the 2020 Code. The remainder of the 2020 Code will apply to Code subscribers from 1 July 2021 (unless adopted earlier).

The current 2014 Code and the new 2020 Code commit Code subscribers to high standards of service and require them to be honest, efficient, fair, transparent and timely in their dealings with their customers and others entitled to the protections provided by these codes. If you think that a Code subscriber has not lived up to its obligations, you can report your concern to the Committee.