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Life insurance code 'could work'

There is support for the idea of a life insurance industry code of conduct, similar to the general insurance industry’s Fair Insurance Code, which came into force this month.

Tuesday, January 12th 2016, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

The code, devised by the Insurance Council of New Zealand, covers its general insurance members and requires them to ensure they communicate effectively with customers, act reasonably when there has been non-disclosure, keep to best-practice timeframes in communication, prioritise vulnerable consumers in a catastrophe and train their staff about the code.

AIA chief executive Natalie Cameron said industry-agreed codes of conduct could be useful and could drive good practice.

“The ICNZ Fair Insurance Code is focussed on claims management, specific general insurance terms and things like catastrophe management,” she said.

“A code to regulate practice in the life industry would be most useful if it also addressed the issues most topical in the life insurance industry.  However, I like common elements like the Fair Insurance Code commitment to ethics, good customer service and prompt and fair complaints management.”

Former AIG and AIA boss David Whyte it would be useful provided the code was drawn up in consultation with providers, advisers and consumers. “This idea might struggle to gain support in the current environment, but nevertheless merits consideration.”

Russell Hutchinson, of Quotemonster and Chatswood Consulting, said the big issue for consumers was the problem of incomplete application forms or undisclosed information.

“The most common reason for claim decline is non-disclosure. That is not directly translatable from the Fair Insurance Code but is an issue several insurers are keen to tackle. Interestingly it is also seen as linked to reducing switches which are ‘unsafe’ because of poor disclosure, which may have been encouraged, or overlooked.”

Tags: health insurance Life insurance

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