Insurance

ASIC regulates insurance and expects your insurer to treat you honestly and fairly. Find out about ASIC’s role in insurance and how to deal with insurance disputes.

How ASIC regulates insurance

ASIC’s role is to ensure that insurers and insurance brokers:

  • offer insurance efficiently, honestly and fairly
  • employ qualified staff who are trained to perform their role
  • use advertising to inform consumers, rather than to mislead them
  • give consumers the proper product disclosures and do so at the right time
  • promptly report any significant breach of a financial services law
  • handle any complaints properly including by accepting the decisions of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

We license and regulate insurers and take action against insurers who fail to comply with the financial services laws. Including when insurers are being misleading or deceptive or are acting unconscionably.

ASIC expects insurers to:

  • treat customers honestly and fairly
  • always put customers’ interests before their commercial interests
  • only offer customers products and services that deliver value for money
  • assess insurance claims promptly and pay eligible claims
  • compensate customers if they conduct themselves poorly and customers incur losses as a result.

We generally do not act for individuals and only take action where it will result in a greater market impact and benefit the general public more broadly. For more information see ASIC’s approach to enforcement Information Sheet 151.

Insurance Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)

It’s a legal requirement for insurers to provide a product disclosure statement for every financial services product they offer.

ASIC sets the regulatory standards for PDSs, to ensure that they are clear, accurate and comprehensive. A PDS provides important information - on exclusions, caps, limits and other conditions – that consumers need when comparing and choosing the best insurance product.

While ASIC doesn’t act on behalf of individuals, we can and do take action against providers that fail to provide PDSs or produce PDSs or other public statements about their products that are misleading. 

Visit ASIC’s MoneySmart website for tips for buying different types of insurance.

Resolving problems with insurance companies

There are three steps you can take to resolve issues with your insurance company:

  1. Contact the insurer - Explain the issue to them by phone, in person, or in writing.
  2. Make a formal complaint - If you are not happy with their response or if the problem can't be resolved, ask for their complaints handling procedure and put your complaint in writing.  Use MoneySmart’s sample complaint letters.
  3. Complain to AFCA - If you don't receive a response in a reasonable time or you're unhappy with the response, you can make a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

We also have specific guidance on how to deal with disputes about life insurance.

Help for Indigenous consumers

For help with making your complaint, you can contact ASIC's Indigenous Help Line on 1300 365 957.

Insurance codes of conduct

To progress your complaint you could refer to the insurance codes of conduct. A code of conduct (or a code of practice) is a set of enforceable rules setting out an industry’s commitments to deliver a certain standard of practice. ASIC does not approve or enforce these particular codes.

Codes of conduct are intended to raise industry standards and complement legislative requirements and encourage consumer confidence.

Here are the Insurance Codes of Conduct:

If you believe that an insurer has breached one of these codes, you can report your concerns to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Last updated: 16/04/2019 04:42