Updates to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice & benefits for consumers
The National Insurance Brokers Association of Australia (NIBA), has released a new and updated Insurance Brokers Code of Practice (the Code) which came into effect on 1 November 2022.
Bellrock welcomes the changes which aim to provide added protection measures for clients which are not established in law, and in some cases exceed standards which are already required under law. It will be overseen and enforced by the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee, which strives to maintain and progress compliance with the Code and afford relevant guidance where required. Here, we summarise the key changes to the Code and related impacts and benefits to clients.
- Professional commitment: Maintaining and improving competency through qualifications and continued education and training.
- Ethical behaviour: Acting with honesty and integrity and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and obligations including those set out in the Code.
- Transparency and accountability: Clear and timely communication with clients and commitment to assist regulators and dispute resolution schemes (such as AFCA). Holding each other accountable for the promotion and implementation of the code and its obligations.
The conduct covered under the Code now also applies to prospective clients. This change gives added protection to businesses and individuals in their dealings with brokers before terms are accepted or they otherwise technically become clients.
Section 10 of the Code covers conduct relating to the identification and support of vulnerable clients. Factors considered include age, disability, language or literacy barriers, cultural background, physical and mental health conditions, remote location and financial distress. This means brokers will actively seek the best ways to move forward under the circumstances, and if a third party is needed such as an interpreter, family member or friend, then reasonable accommodations will be made to allow for this.
Procedures for complaints handling will be aligned with ASIC’s guide on internal dispute resolution (IDR). Complaints will be handled by a person with appropriate authority, a written response detailing the reasons for the outcome will be given to the complainant, and complaints will be resolved within 30 days from receipt; if not, appropriate actions will be taken to inform the client of the delay and their legal rights regarding the situation.
The 2022 Code no longer applies to Life Insurance. Life Insurance will now be covered separately under the Life Insurance Code of Practice, developed through the Financial Services Council.
Adoption of the 2022 Code
The code applies to all members of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) with formal adoption of the 2022 Code required by 1 November 2022. Non- members may adopt the Code with approval from NIBA. A list of Code Subscribers who have adopted the Code will appear on the Code website.
Further detail on what consumers may expect from the Code and their rights and recourse can be found on the Code website here.