The Financial Services Council (FSC) has called on the Government to exclude professionals such as accountants, doctors and lawyers from coverage when it legislates to makes insurance claims handling a financial service.
The FSC has made its call in a submission responding to a Treasury consultation process but makes no reference to any exclusion for financial advisers.
However, it argues against proposed additional disclosure obligations with respect to providing financial product advice, claiming that it is established industry practice “and to the claimant’s benefit for the insurer to assist in the provision of information” on matters such as benefit calculation, the potential eligibility to claim on other insurance products and any applicable offsets between benefits paid and multiple insurance products.
“Imposing additional disclosure obligations for factual statements would unreasonably hinder the quality and efficiency of the CHS service provided to the claimant,” it said.
On the question of excluding accountants and others, the submission suggests that the exclusion apply to “any persons acting in their professional capacity to provide an ‘expert’ opinion”.
It suggested that if the legislation did not exclude such professional “experts” there was “likely to be a withdrawal of services by such professionals and a deterioration in the efficiency and quality of the CHS service which would be provided to the claimant”.
In a media release attaching to the FSC submission, the organisation’s chief executive, Sally Loane referenced the fact that the FSC had “requested that the proposed legislation does not capture people such as doctors, physiotherapists and accountants acting in their professional capacity by providing expert opinion in claims matters”.
She said that while they might have a role in the process, the experts, specialists and service providers were external to the insurer and held no delegated authority to make claims decisions.
Elsewhere in its submission the FSC called for confirmation of a definite start date of 1 July, 2021, for the new regime sating it was vital that the industry had time to act to invest the significant resources necessary to meet the new requirements.