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Motor group proposes excess waiver for crash repairs

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The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) has proposed insurers waive consumer excess payments for authorised crash repairs as part of an SME assistance package that has received draft approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

MTAA CEO Richard Dudley says removing the excess would assist both crash repairers and consumers by ensuring repairs are not put off by people concerned about paying the upfront sum.

“It would assist policyholders to be able to have that excess waived so they do have their car repaired, particularly if they are suffering hardship or concern at the moment,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The MTAA proposal is part of a submission on the extension of approval for SME assistance measures until the end of the year.

The draft authorisation, which includes deferring payments and waiving cancellation fees, initially applied to policies with premiums due by June 30.

The ACCC authorisation was sought by Suncorp, Allianz and QBE and would also apply to other insurers and brokers that wish to adopt the measures. Similar measures were also introduced earlier by IAG.

Mr Dudley says it’s worthwhile looking at every opportunity to assist business activity over coming months as the impacts from containing the COVID-19 outbreak continue.

“This is not over by a long shot, even though we have businesses starting the pathway to recovery,” he said.

“There will still be hiccups over the next few months, particularly as some of the other government incentives come off. Tthere is significant concern out there about how that is going to manifest itself in terms of businesses as well as consumers.”

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman questions why an ACCC authorisation is even necessary, and notes the application states insurers may independently elect to implement further initiatives.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell also says the SME definition, specifying an aggregated annual turnover of less than $10 million and employing fewer than 20 employees, is too restrictive and removes a large number of small businesses from coverage.

The ACCC is due to make a final decision next month.