General Insurance Code of Practice
The General Insurance Code of Practice (the Code) requires insurers, and other industry participants, who have adopted the Code to provide services to their customers in an open, fair and honest way.
The Code’s standards apply to many features of a customer’s relationship with their insurer including when buying insurance, what to expect when making a claim, including timeframes for making a claim decision, and processes for making complaints.
The Code also requires insurers to provide assistance to individuals who are in financial hardship and having difficulty meeting their financial obligations to an insurer. This includes:
- a customer who has made a claim but is experiencing difficulty paying an excess to their insurer, or
- a person who owes an insurer money because they caused damage while uninsured.
In such cases the Code sets out hardship and debt collection standards for general insurers and their agents to follow.
The Code is owned and published by the Insurance Council of Australia and forms an important part of the broader financial services consumer protection framework. The latest version of the Code is effective from 1 July 2015.
The General Insurance Code of Practice covers many aspects of a customer's relationship with their insurer, from buying insurance to making a claim, to providing assistance to those experiencing financial difficulty including uninsured third parties.
General insurance products covered by the Code include:
|Personal Classes||Commercial Classes|
|Accident & Sickness||Business|
|Consumer Credit||Contractors All Risks|
|Motor||Industrial Special Risks|
|Personal & Domestic Property||Liability|
|Travel||Other commercial products|
The Code does not apply to:
- workers compensation
- marine insurance
- medical indemnity insurance
- compulsory third party insurance
- reinsurance, and
- life and health insurance products issued by life insurers or registered health insurers.
Code subscribers are listed on the Insurance Council of Australia’s register of general insurers and Lloyd’s Australia Limited coverholders and claims administrators.
The General Insurance Code Governance Committee (CGC) independently monitors the Code to ensure companies are meeting their obligations, and achieving service standards consumers can trust.
The Code Compliance and Monitoring team (Code Team) at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) provides code monitoring, secretariat and administrative services to the Committee. The Code Team is a separately operated and funded business unit of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The role of the General Insurance Code Governance Committee is to ensure companies that have adopted the General Insurance Code of Practice comply with it. It does not provide compensation. If you are seeking compensation, talk to your financial services provider or lodge a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
If you believe a company may have breached the General Insurance Code of Practice, you can report your concern by emailing the Code Team or calling 1800 367 287 and asking to speak with the Code Team Investigations Manager.
Read the Code Governance Committee’s publications for in-depth analysis of code compliance within the Australian general insurance industry.