The Life Insurance Code of Practice (the Code) requires life insurers, friendly societies that offer life insurance products and other industry participants, who have adopted the Code to provide services to their customer of a high standard and in a timely, honest, fair and transparent way.
The Code aims to improve standards of service and practice in the Australian life insurance industry. Life insurers that adopt the code have formally agreed to be bound by its standards.
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 is owned and published by the Financial Services Council (FSC) and forms an important part of the broader financial services customer protection framework. All life insurance companies which are FSC members are required to be compliant with the Code by 1 July 2017.
The Life Insurance Code of Practice covers many aspects of a customer’s relationship with their life insurer, from buying insurance to making a claim, to customers requiring additional support and standards for third parties dealing with underwriting or claims.
The Code covers Life Insurance Policies issued in the Australian market.
Life Insurance products covered by the Code include:
- Term life insurance/death and terminal illness;
- Total and permanent disability (TPD);
- Trauma/critical illness insurance;
- Disability insurance
- Funeral insurance
- Income protection/salary continuance;
- Business expense cover; and
- Consumer credit insurance (CCI) issued by a life insurer.
The Code does not apply to:
- Annuities and investment life products, except any component considered as a Life Insurance Policy
- Whole of life and endowment insurance products
- Insurance products issued by general insurers
- Health insurance products issued by health insurers.
The Code does not apply to life insurance products issued by:
- Superannuation fund trustees
- Financial advice companies or financial advisers; or
- Other industry participants (unless they have adopted the code).
Code subscribers are listed on the Financial Services Council register of life insurers bound by the code.
The Life Insurance Code Compliance Committee (Life CCC) independently monitors the Code to ensure life insurance 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 Life Insurance Code Compliance Committee is to ensure companies that have adopted the Life 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 Life 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.