NIBA welcomes ICA’s independent paper on commercial insurance issues

NIBA has welcomed the independent review that the ICA has released for consultation

Written on 26 May, 2021
Tanaya Das

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) has welcomed the independent review that the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has released for consultation – that sets out options for tackling the availability and affordability of commercial lines of insurance, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth said, “The ICA and Council of Small Business Associations (COSBOA) recently held a roundtable on issues of availability and affordability of insurance for small business that NIBA attended. We will be looking closely at this review, making a submission to the consultation and look forward to closely working with the ICA on this. NIBA appreciates the opportunity to engage with John Trowbridge and with ICA CEO Andrew Hall on these important matters.”

The ICA has commissioned former insurance executive and regulator John Trowbridge to conduct an independent review of these issues and present possible solutions. The independent review finds issues around affordability and availability for SMEs are centred on public liability, professional indemnity, directors and officers, and business interruption cover. The review states that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these issues, solutions do exist but they will require collaboration between insurers, small businesses and government.

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said, “The Trowbridge review shows that insurers are serious about engaging with these issues for the benefit of individual commercial policyholders and the economy as a whole. As risk increases so do insurers’ costs; as a result, premiums may rise impacting the availability and affordability of some categories of insurance for certain sectors. While some small businesses are facing challenges in accessing the insurance they need to operate, in many of these categories insurers are under pressure to provide a profitable product so solutions are often difficult to determine.”

The 16 options identified in the Trowbridge review fall into three broad categories:

  • Awareness options such as standard documentation and advice and education on risk mitigation
  • Insurance industry options such as underwriting consortia and industry association accreditation and standards
  • Government-related options such as the removal of taxes and charges and collaboration to reduce regulatory barriers

The ICA will conduct a one-month consultation with stakeholders, following which a final response to the paper will be prepared for the ICA Board.

NIBA is keen to hear from members on the issues covered in the report, and on the 16 options presented by the review.  Comments should be sent to NIBA CEO Dallas Booth at dbooth@niba.com.au.