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Another add-on class action launched against Allianz

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A second class action has been launched against Allianz in relation to allegedly “worthless” add-on insurance, while notices are going out from the Federal Court to hundreds of thousands of Australians today in relation to a separate case against Westpac.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn is coordinating the Allianz case, filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday, while the Westpac case is led by Slater and Gordon.

Allianz is already facing a similar case in the same court from Johnson Winter & Slattery, while insuranceNEWS.com.au has reported on other Slater and Gordon class actions against Commonwealth Bank and ANZ.

A Johnson Winter & Slattery case against IAG has been settled, as has a Slater and Gordon case against NAB.

The latest action against Allianz alleges thousands of motorists who arranged finance through car dealerships were sold “several types of worthless Allianz insurance to shamelessly boost profits”.

Products included consumer credit insurance (CCI), GAP insurance, extended warranty insurance and tyre and rim insurance.

Maurice Blackburn says many of these products were “complex financial instruments” with numerous exclusions and exceptions.

“Customers were sold CCI add-on insurance for death and disability, despite dealers and Allianz knowing they were employed and therefore likely to have cover for things like accident disability through their superannuation funds,” it says.

The class action alleges Allianz trained car dealers to promote and sell the add-on insurance products and paid them “lucrative commissions”.

The lead plaintiff is a 26-year-old casual employee who Maurice Blackburn says was “hoodwinked into purchasing more than $3000 in unnecessary Allianz insurance products as part of a loan agreement for a $20,000 Ford Falcon XR6”.

Principal Lawyer Andrew Watson says the sale of add-on insurance through car dealerships was widespread.

“Many of these insurance products were unduly expensive and offered no value to customers,” he said.

“The exploitation was compounded when these policies were paid for by the same high interest rate loans that the dealers arranged to finance the purchase of cars.

“If customers knew and understood that they were being asked to pay thousands of dollars for these valueless products, they would have rejected the offer without hesitation.”

The class action alleges Allianz engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and behaved unconscionably. The action says Allianz should refund all premiums paid by its add-on insurance customers with interest.

Meanwhile, Slater and Gordon says more than 368,000 Australians will today receive notice from the Federal Court advising that they may be eligible to be part of a CCI class action against Westpac.

The law firm says many Westpac customers were sold “junk credit card and personal loan insurance that was of little or no value”, and that many customers would never have been eligible to claim against.

“The insurance was often sold to people with disabilities, people who were unemployed or people who were chronically ill and therefore likely ineligible to claim," Slater and Gordon says.

"The class action alleges that many people were led to believe that the insurance was compulsory or free, while others didn’t even know they had been sold it.”

Similar notices for the ongoing Commonwealth Bank and ANZ class actions are expected to be sent out in coming months.

Both Allianz and Westpac told insuranceNEWS.com.au they are unable to comment on matters which are before the courts.