PJC Inquiry into the Life Insurance Industry – opening statement by ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell

A statement by Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman,
Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Parliamentary Joint Committee, Corporations & Financial Services

8 September 2017

Introduction

I am pleased to appear before the Committee today.

With me are Senior Executive Leaders:

  • Michael Saadat;
  • Louise Macaulay; and
  • Gerard Fitzpatrick.

Also appearing is Senior Manager, Emma Curtis.

Chair, I have a brief opening statement.

Life insurance is a vital product for Australian consumers and their families, helping them to manage risk and providing support, often at times of significant financial stress. However, ASIC's regulatory work, as well as concerns raised more generally by consumers,  indicate that the life insurance sector has been falling short of the standards that we would expect. The sector is currently under an unprecedented level of scrutiny across the board.

ASIC's work covers the three major distribution channels for life insurance, as well as the over-arching area of claims handling. That is, our work is focused on:

  • the adviser channel;
  • direct life insurance; and
  • group insurance through superannuation.

We have been concerned to ensure good consumer outcomes across all these channels.

In addition, we have a significant focus on claims handling. As you know we published a report in October 2016 on claims experience across the sector. This was the first time such an extensive set of life insurance industry claims data has been collected and analysed.

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Last updated: 08/09/2017 12:44