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NIBA examines Hayne legislative package details

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The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) is examining a legislative package tabled in Federal Parliament last week that introduces reforms recommended by the Hayne royal commission around add-on sales, hawking and claims handling.

“There are some aspects of it that are new, and we need to examine them thoroughly, and other aspects that are not a lot different,” NIBA CEO Dallas Booth told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “We will certainly be looking to identify any potential concerns as quickly as we can.”

Mr Booth says positive changes made include a common start date for both hawking rules and a deferred sales model for add-on products. Earlier it had appeared the changes may commence at different times.

“Our view is that would have been totally and completely confusing in terms of implementation, so we do welcome that,” he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the legislative package covers 20 recommendations and one additional commitment from the royal commission.

The Government is now focused on implementing remaining Hayne recommendations, consistent with an updated roadmap issued following the onset of COVID-19, Mr Frydenberg says.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Andrew Hall says insurers have been preparing for implantation of the measures since the draft bill was released in January and the revised legislation provides details needed by businesses to adjust their operations.

“ICA acknowledges that its concerns about the potential negative impact of some provisions of the original draft legislation have been considered while still being consistent with the policy intent of the [Hayne] recommendations,” he says.

“For example, there is greater clarity about how hawking prohibitions will be strengthened and there is more certainty about the application of claims handling obligations to service providers.”

Consumer groups backed the Federal Government’s introduction of stronger protections, but said concerns included a potential exemption for travel insurance from some of the reforms.

Federal Parliament will resume for a two-week sitting on November 30, with no further sittings scheduled for this year.