The insurance industry operates under a General Insurance Code of Practice directed at standards and consumer protection and other legislation covering the contents of insurance policies and standard cover for some domestic insurance policyholders. Insurance marketing and selling practices have been reformed by financial services legislation.

Contributor

Mark Attard

Partner, Clyde & Co.

Legislation related to insurance

Last updated

1 July 2021

Insurance-related Commonwealth and Victorian legislation includes the following.

Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth)

The Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) (‘IC Act’) is a significant piece of consumer protection legislation, which reformed the common law relating to insurance policies. The IC Act does not apply to policies of reinsurance, health insurance, marine insurance, workers compensation or compulsory third-party (personal injury) motor vehicle insurance.

Those seeking to rely on a provision of the IC Act should check the Act carefully to find out whether the particular provision applies to the insurance policy or issue in question. A copy of the IC Act can be viewed at www.austlii.edu.au.

Insurance Contracts Regulations 1985 (Cth)

The Insurance Contracts Regulations 1985 (Cth) (‘IC Regulations’), among other things, prescribe standard cover for certain domestic insurance policies.

It is important for policyholders and legal practitioners to consult the IC Regulations and check that the insurance policy under consideration conforms to the prescribed standard cover.

Hayne Royal Commission

In 2017, the federal government established the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. This Royal Commission was led by former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne and became known as the ‘Hayne Royal Commission’. 

In 2019, the Hayne Royal Commission recommended sweeping changes to the insurance industry, including increasing consumer protection and making insurance companies more accountable for their conduct. The subsequent reforms to the IC Act, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (‘ASIC Act’) are covered in this chapter.

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