Westpac chief executive, Brian Hartzer has confirmed the company’s financial advisers are encouraged to sell BT Life Insurance products ahead of other offerings and he makes no apology for it.
Giving evidence before the House of Representatives Economics Committee review of the major banks, Hartzer confirmed that BT advisers “overwhelmingly sell BT life insurance, adding that it should be no surprise”.
“…that shouldn't be a surprise to someone who's coming to a BT life insurance rep—they have the ability to access non-BT product if that's appropriate,” the Westpac CEO said.
“The point is that we're very happy with the quality of the products that we put out in BT Insurance. They win awards all the time. They're designed for different life stages. We pay over 90 per cent of claims.”
Hartzer said he was aware that different people, particularly if they were independent brokers, had a different view, but our Westpac’s view was that insurance was a very appropriate product for it to be providing to customers.
“Our view is that, if we have a suite of products that suit different life stages and that are well structured and good value, that's what we can and should recommend,” the Westpac CEO said. “But, if one of those products is not suitable for a customer for different reasons, our advisers have the ability to access other products, and, in some cases, they do.”
Questioned by Greens member, Thistlethwaite about it taking up to four days from request for BT advisers to get permission to offer non-BT products, Hartzer said the company was not pretending to be an independent insurance broker.