Supporting customers through financial hardship

NIBA CEO, Dallas Booth, discusses the recently introduced vulnerable customers provisions in the new General Insurance Code of Practice.

Written on 17 June, 2020
Allyssa Hextell

Last month the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) announced changes to the implementation of the new 2020 General Insurance Code of Practice (GI Code) due to the unparalleled impact COVID-19 has had on the industry and its customers. Insurers will bring forward by six months (to 1 July 2020) or earlier if possible, key consumer provisions in Parts 9 (Supporting customers experiencing vulnerability) and 10 (Financial hardship) of the new Code.

Insurers will fast-track these parts by putting in place temporary or short-term measures (if necessary), to help and support vulnerable customers and customers facing financial hardship. In delivering this, members will look to the principles that preface the Code including transparency, fairness, support and integrity. The deadline for full technical compliance for Part 9 and 10 remains 1 January, 2021.

We note that insurers remain committed to publishing their family violence policy on their website by 1 July, 2020, to enhance awareness and understanding of how insurers will support customers experiencing family violence.

What does this mean for insurance brokers?

Insurance brokers who act as an agent of an insurer in relation to a retail General Insurance Contract, must speak to the insurer about the temporary or short-term measures being implemented to achieve the consumer outcomes intended by Parts 9 and 10 for vulnerable customers, those facing financial hardship and those experiencing family violence, and complete GI Code training as provided, with priority given to Parts 9 and 10.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) also encourages all insurance brokers who act for and on behalf of clients to undertake vulnerable customer GI Code training, and to be aware of the Code commitments by insurers and the benefits the industry has committed to delivering to policyholders.

What training is available?
Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)

ANZIIF are hosting an online e-learner that was created by Uniting Kildonan and the ICA. Uniting Kildonan designed the package using a fundamental principle-based approach within an insurance industry context and reflects on the diversity of vulnerability.

The e-learner contains three separate modules: understanding vulnerability; respectful communication; and finally, an optional module for leaders supporting their teams. This particular package is extremely price competitive.

ANZIIF have also created an additional learning module called ‘caring for the customer’ which ties Uniting Kildonan’s vulnerability package in with the Code obligations.

More information relating to GI Code training is available here.

Gold Seal

Gold Seal has released a new module called ‘Supporting Vulnerable Customers’ which supports the new GI Code requirements to take extra care with customers who experience vulnerability.

The training has been designed to help staff:

  • Understand if customers may be vulnerable
  • Recognise how best, and to what extent, vulnerable customers can be supported
  • Take account of vulnerable customers’ particular needs or vulnerability
  • Engage with vulnerable customers with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion
  • This module also provides access to the Vulnerable Customers and Financial Hardship components of Gold Seal’s new GI Code training.

More information on this particular module is available here.