"A focus on process rather than people" sat at the heart of the claims handling problems encountered by CommInsure, according to Commonwealth Bank chief executive, Ian Narev.
Narev has used a submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into the Scruinty of Financial Advice to seek to exonerate the bank's personnel with respect to the claims handling issues.
Referring directly to the media reports of the claims handling issues, the bank's submission details the handling of the five customers at issue, with Narev's covering letter stating: "Our investigations since those reports have not suggested any deliberate employee misconduct. If anything, in these cases, there appears to have been more of a focus on process rather than people".
The Commonwealth Bank chief executive then said two of the five customers had been paid prior to this year, and that in respect of the remaining three customers "we have now taken decisive and compassionate action to address issues in our policies and pay their claims".
Narev also sought to defend the Commonwealth Bank's treatment of whistleblowers, claiming he placed great emphasis on culture, ethics and the importance of speaking up but the bank's submission also laid bare the reasons it had dismissed the chief medical officer at the centre of many of the CommInsure claims handling allegations, Dr Benjamin Koh.
The submission stated: "Allegations that Dr Koh was dismissed for raising concerns about business practices at CommInsure are incorrect. Dr Koh was dismissed for serious and repeated breaches of customers' privacy, involving highly sensitive personal, medical and financial information over a lengthy period of time. His statements and associated conduct during the investigation of his breaches were also misleading. The investigation found that Dr Koh sent around 230 emails, attaching a total of around 260 documents, to his personal Gmail account. The emails were unencrypted and included sensitive customer files, medical reports, financial information and CommInsure corporate information. Emails were sent over an extended period from November 2013 to early 2015".
Koh is suing the bank for wrongful dismissal.