Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)
What is a Product Disclosure Statement and who prepares it?
A product disclosure statement is prepared by the product issuer (the insurer) and sets out the essential features and other information about the policy. The PDS may be in printed version, soft copy, or posted on the insurer's website
When must the PDS be given to the Client?
Where a recommendation or an offer made to issue an insurance contract the client must be given the PDS at or before the time of providing the advice and before arranging the policy.
When does a PDS not have to be given?
When the client already has a PDS for the policy and there have been no changes made by the insurer.
What must a PDS contain?
The PDS must contain the PDS title content; date prepared; statement setting out the name and contact details of the issuer and information about:
- any significant benefits to which a holder of the product will or may become entitled,
- the circumstances in which and times at which those benefits will or may be provided,
- the way in which those benefits will or may be provided;
- any amounts that will or may be payable by a holder of the product in respect of the product after its acquisition, and the times at which those amounts will or may be payable
- if the amounts paid in respect of the financial product and the amounts paid in respect of other financial products are paid into a common fund – any amounts that will or may be deducted from the fund by way of fees, expenses or charges
- the dispute resolution system that covers complaints by holders of the product and about how that system may be accessed;
- any cooling-off regime that applies in respect of acquisitions of the product (whether the regime is provided for by a law or otherwise);
- unauthorised foreign insurer information where relevant; and
- consumer credit insurance specific disclosure where relevant.
In addition, the PDS must now also include the terms and conditions of the policy document (within the meaning of the Insurance Contracts Act), being terms and conditions that are not provided in a Schedule to the policy document.
Short Form Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)
A 'short form' PDS may be issued that contains only core information plus information required to meet the insurance Contracts Act requirements or to ensure the validity of the PDS as an insurance contract:
- Name and contact details of the insurer (or seller)
- Significant benefits, risks or other features of the product
- The cost of the product
- Dispute Resolution procedures
- Any cooling-off rights
A PDS will not be required for general insurance renewals if there is no material change in the terms and conditions of the policy, other than the premium payable.
Verbal PDS disclosure can be reduced by referring to the availability of a cooling-off period and that a written PDS will be provided within that cooling of period.
From 1 July, 2008, ASIC must be advised when:
- the PDS is first given out
- fees and charges are changed by a supplementary PDS
- any prodvet in the PDS is no longer available
With effect from 1 January, 2009, this information must be provided to ASIC online.
The person responsible for PDS control is the person or entity for whom the PDS is prepared, or in most cases the body who is issuing the product. For more information please visit the ASIC website.