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Next code may protect vulnerable consumers

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The General Insurance Code of Practice may be strengthened with standards to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers and victims of family violence, under priority areas identified in an interim report.

Other key areas for inclusion relate to disclosure, claims investigations and amendments to facilitate approval of the code by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) released the report last week.

“We now invite submissions from stakeholders on the interim report and propose an eight-week consultation period to ensure there is time for proper consideration,” ICA CEO Rob Whelan said.

ICA will also conduct workshops with stakeholders to further discuss the practical effects of various proposals.

The code, first introduced in 1994, has been reviewed four times previously. The most recent version, introduced after a sometimes-contentious review by lawyer Ian Enright, started on July 1 2014.

ICA has appointed former ASIC GM and Cameron Ralph Khoury MD Phil Khoury to provide independent oversight of the current review.

His role includes advising on whether the interim report appropriately takes into account submissions received and external developments.

ICA says it is committed to ensuring the review is as thorough as possible, while also remaining practical.

“The code represents the general insurance industry’s strong commitment to improving consumer outcomes,” Mr Whelan said.

Submissions on the interim report are due by January 8 and can be lodged here.