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Data reveals insurers’ political donations

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and leading insurers are among the financial services players that made political donations last financial year, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Total donations from ICA exceeded $134,000, with 63% going to the Liberal Party and the rest to the ALP, calculations by insuranceNEWS.com.au show.

The donations, at both state and federal levels, ranged from $100 to $27,500.

ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller told insuranceNEWS.com.au political donations are made as “part of [ICA’s] support for the democratic process”.

Asked if the industry should drop the practice and invest funds in areas such as improving the public’s understanding of insurance, he said ICA “has no plans to change its approach to political donations”.

Allianz Australia donated $134,268, of which $60,338 went to the ALP, $47,380 to the Liberal Party and $26,550 to the National Party.

“Allianz’s bipartisan approach to donations focuses on participation in annual political party business engagement programs and business observer programs at annual political party conferences,” a spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“These sorts of programs provide Allianz with opportunities to engage in public policy debates such as climate change, on proposed changes to regulation that may have an adverse impact on our customers, employees or shareholders, such as taxation of insurance, and to promote reforms that are in the best interests of our customers – for example, that improve access to and the affordability of insurance.”

The donations also underline Allianz’s support for Australian democracy, it says.

“Australia does not operate a system where the electoral activities of political parties are fully funded through taxes,” the spokesman said.

“Our democratic system therefore cannot operate without donations to political parties by individuals, businesses and other organisations, such as trade unions. Against this background, Allianz believes that supporting Australian democracy is an important corporate responsibility of business.”

Suncorp donated $68,230, IAG gave $82,355 and QBE Insurance parted with $91,030.

Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia donated nearly $99,750 across the ALP, Liberal National Party of Queensland, the Liberal Party and the National Party.

In comparison, the four major banks gave $352,000 to the Coalition and $310,000 to the ALP.

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