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Royal commission passes on general insurance

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General insurance companies won’t be appearing before the Hayne royal commission’s final round of hearings starting on November 19.

The seventh round of the royal commission’s public hearings will consider regulatory reforms necessary to deal with cases of misconduct heard during previous rounds.

The commission says it “intends to deal with these issues through the entities set out below” – naming the Big Four banks, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), AMP, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and Macquarie Group.

Finity Consulting Principal Geoff Atkins told insuranceNEWS.com.au he’s not surprised general insurers haven’t been called.

“My interpretation of this round of hearings is that it’s about the regulators and underlying systemic issues,” he said.

“The banks plus AMP have been the number one focus of the royal commission all along.

“I don’t think any particular questions [about general insurance] are likely to come up, but it will be dealt with in the final report.”

Mr Atkins says general insurance is “bottom of the list” for the royal commission, but warns the sector could become caught up in recommendations for wider regulatory reforms.

The seventh round of public hearings will run for two weeks. The first week starts on Monday November 19 in Sydney, while the second week is from Monday November 26 in Melbourne.

The royal commission’s website says the seventh round of public hearings “will focus on causes of misconduct and conduct falling below community standards and expectations by financial services entities (including culture, governance, remuneration and risk management practices), and on possible responses, including regulatory reform”.

“The hearings will also consider the role of ASIC and APRA in supervising the actions of financial services entities, deterring misconduct by those entities, and taking action when misconduct may have occurred.”

Other entities may be included in the list before the hearings start.

General insurance was examined during the last round of hearings last month. It was omitted from Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s interim report because of timing, but will be included in his final report in February.