Hayne royal commission recommendations to strengthen anti-hawking laws must be given ‚Äúcareful consideration‚ÄĚ to ensure changes don‚Äôt have a detrimental impact on the general insurance industry, Finity has warned.
Commissioner Kenneth Hayne‚Äôs final report recommendation 4.1 specifies ‚Äúhawking of insurance products should be prohibited‚ÄĚ, and the Government has pledged to act.
But Finity says outlawing ‚Äúcross-selling‚ÄĚ could lead to ‚Äúturmoil‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúIf you arrange car insurance on the phone, can an insurer ask about your home insurance? Can a travel agent offer you travel insurance? This is where we see the anti-hawking changes could create turmoil.
‚ÄúTaking the anti-hawking definition and the recommendation at face value, many current practices would become illegal.‚ÄĚ
Finity says unsatisfactory sales conduct highlighted in last year‚Äôs royal commission hearings was related to life insurance and funeral cover ‚Äď but that might not stop general insurance being caught in changes to the law.
‚ÄúIt is necessary to evaluate whether the various cross-selling situations are indeed a detrimental hard sell of unwanted products or are beneficial to consumers in terms of awareness and convenience.
‚ÄúTo use the travel example, there could be significant benefits for consumers, especially the less financially sophisticated, in reducing the risk of taking an overseas trip without thinking about travel insurance.‚ÄĚ
Finity believes insurance brokers are unlikely to be significantly affected by changes to anti-hawking laws.
‚ÄúMost offers of insurance that they make are solicited or would be regarded as solicited.‚ÄĚ
It says some add-on insurance products have raised genuine concerns, but there are other measures being brought in to deal with that issue.
‚ÄúThe royal commission has made a number of recommendations to deal with this situation ‚Äď including deferred sales, commission limits and product design and distribution obligations.
‚ÄúIs the extension of anti-hawking needed to deal with these circumstances, as well as all the other provisions?‚ÄĚ
Finity suggests the current law simply needs to be properly enforced, rather than new laws being required.
‚ÄúMost general insurance products are not prone to mis-selling or overselling. The vast majority protect a physical asset or legal liability and only one insurance policy is needed for each asset or legal exposure.
‚ÄúCareful consultation will be necessary to strike the right balance between protecting consumers and allowing the convenient and helpful offer of insurance products to consumers.‚ÄĚ