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Allianz add-on customers sue for 'hundreds of millions'

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Allianz has been hit with a class action from customers who say they have been sold poor value motor add-on insurance and want “hundreds of millions” in compensation from the insurer.

An Allianz spokesman told today the insurer “acknowledges the receipt of a legal class action in relation to the sale of those products and will respond as appropriate”.

“As this matter is now before the court, no further public comments will be made,” the spokesman said.

The claim against Allianz and Allianz Life was filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria by Johnson Winter & Slattery, the law firm that last year launched a similar legal action against IAG and its subsidiary Swann, accusing the insurer of engaging in “misleading and deceptive conduct” to sell add-on insurance through car dealers.

A press release from the law firm states that "consumers seek hundreds of millions in compensation from Allianz for ‘poor value’ add-on insurance".

In the court papers filed, the firm accuses Allianz and its subsidiary of breaching the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Act and Corporations Act.

It says the insurer had engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct” to sell a range of car and motorcycle add-ons, citing evidence that was presented to the Hayne royal commission in 2018.

“While the royal commission is behind us, many consumers have significant claims and [we] have been instructed to file these important proceedings to take all steps available for the class to seek redress,” Practice Group Head of the Dispute Resolution team Paul Buitendag said.

Lead plaintiff Tracy-Ann Fuller says she was sold Allianz Loan Insurance, Motor Equity Insurance and Tyre and Rim Insurance when she bought a car at a dealership, with no explanation as to why she had to buy it other than she could lose her deposit if she refused to do so.

“Nobody told me that the products were optional. I thought they were part of the finance documents,” she said. “I was just handed a bundle of documents an inch thick and told I would lose my deposit if I didn’t sign on the day. They were expensive for me - nearly $6000.”

Under an ASIC-approved remediation program in December 2017, Allianz agreed to refund $45.6 million in premiums to 68,000 customers for add-on insurance sold through car dealerships between December 2010 and November 2017.