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5 Apr 2018

Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer has raised concerns that superannuation members do not receive value for money from default insurance premiums.

She told the Financial Services Council (FSC) Life Insurance Conference some members pay too much for cover that goes beyond their needs.

The benefits of default cover should not be outweighed by erosion of retirement savings through high premiums, Ms O’Dwyer warns.

In 2016 $8.4 billion was spent on insurance premiums provided through super.

Almost 14 million accounts have life insurance, mostly default cover. More than 70% of life insurance policies are held through super.

Ms O’Dwyer says...

3 Apr 2018

The cost of bushfires in NSW is expected to double by mid-century as climate change exacerbates the fire season, according to the Climate Council.

The state will suffer $100 million a year in damage as the season grows longer and more dangerous, it warns.

Climate Council Acting CEO Martin Rice has called on the Federal Government to “deeply and rapidly” cut Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions.

He says intensifying climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, bringing rising temperatures, heatwaves, “supercharged” storms, more rainfall and bushfires.

Shifting to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and storage technology is crit...

3 Apr 2018

Australia is one of the strictest countries in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to data breach penalties, a new report has found.

The Data Risk Management Barometer, commissioned by tech firm Dell EMC, has revealed that Australia has one of the harshest set of penalties for data breach, with maximum penalties set at $1.8 million.

“Based on research available publicly, Singapore appears to have the highest amount of financial penalty that can be imposed on corporations, closely followed by Australia,” the report states.

The report notes that enforcements within the Asia-Pacific region are “hugely varied” with fines rising to close to $1 million in pla...

28 Mar 2018

Commonwealth Bank mis-sold consumer credit insurance to about 64,000 customers who did not meet employment eligibility criteria for claims, the royal commission into financial services misconduct heard last week.

An internal update last year showed the number of possibly unemployed customers who had bought Credit Card Plus (CCP) insurance from 2008-15 had risen to 100,000.

Most of these customers were students, and pensioners were also sold the product.

“There were many customers who did not meet the criteria to whom we sold it,” Commonwealth Bank EGM Retail Products Clive van Horen said.

“We certainly failed to take what I would consider today to be reaso...

28 Mar 2018

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has strongly supported “comprehensive reforms” to improve the quality of advice given to retail consumers.

“The current regulatory framework unnecessarily constrains the ability of licensees to provide simple product information,” it says in response to a Productivity Commission draft report.

The report on competition in financial services recommends renaming “general advice” to avoid misleading consumers into believing they are receiving “personal advice”, and requests input on further changes that may be needed.

ICA says the regulatory regime for personal advice is expensive and time-consuming, and while it may b...

26 Mar 2018

A list of global insurance firms, including IAG, Allianz and Ping An, are reported to be interested in Commonwealth Bank’s insurance operations.

According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, a murderer’s row of insurers are rumoured to have held preliminary discussions with the Australian banking giant, should there be any strategic changes within its general insurance division.

IAG, Allianz and Ping An are said to have held preliminary discussions with CBA, according to a report in the publications Street Talk column, with sources suggesting that the general insurance business could be valued at $1bn.

Earlier reports from the publication sugg...

26 Mar 2018

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25 Mar 2018

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe in southern NSW and southwest Victoria after weekend fires devastated property, while claims are being lodged after Cyclone Marcus hit Darwin on Saturday.

In NSW fire broke out near the coastal town of Tathra yesterday, destroying at least 70 properties, according to the Rural Fire Service.

Blazes in Victoria were fuelled by hot and windy conditions, particularly around Terang, Garvoc and Camperdown. Local media reported up to 12 homes destroyed, with livestock, sheds and machinery also lost.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan says the extent of property losses may take several days or more to be determi...

22 Mar 2018

Lloyd’s of London posted its first loss in six years after one of the costliest periods for natural disasters in a decade.

The world’s oldest insurance market recorded a pre-tax loss of £2 billion (AU$3.7 billion) in 2017 as major claims more than doubled to £4.5 billion (AU$8.2 billion).

Devastating hurricanes, including Irma which caused widespread damage in parts of the US and Caribbean, helped trigger an underwriting loss of £3.4 billion (AU$6.2 billion). That pushed the combined ratio to 114%, reflecting larger payouts for claims than the revenue generated from premiums.

“The market experienced an exceptionally difficult year in 2017, driven by chall...

21 Mar 2018

QBE’s Australian and New Zealand Operations division will bring its technology and transformation teams together within what’s to be called a “chief operations office” and will also create a new strategy team.

Steve Raynor will act as interim Chief Operations Officer, effective today, while a search is conducted for the expanded role, and a new chief information officer will move into the team.

Current CIO Tony Forward has accepted a redundancy and Val Matthews has been appointed in an acting capacity from March 29 while a recruitment process is conducted for the redefined position.

Australia and New Zealand Operations CEO Vivek Bhatia, who joined QBE at...

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