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03 August 2020

Ombudsman’s Insurance Inquiry inundated by survey responses

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says there has been an overwhelming public response to the Insurance Inquiry since it was launched last week.

“My office has already received over 150 survey responses and a number of submissions in relation to this inquiry and we anticipate that number to grow,” Ms Carnell says.

“While we are only in the early stages of the inquiry, it is clear the small business community supports the work we are doing in this area.”

The inquiry follows a growing number of complaints from small businesses who have either been denied insurance or priced out of the market.

“Over the coming months, we will be investigating the practices of the insurance industry that impact small businesses and examining whether small business insurance products are fit for purpose,” Ms Carnell says.

“I’m particularly concerned about a number of cases where small businesses with current insurance policies have been subjected to major changes that have reduced their coverage without their consent, and with no refund of premiums. Our inquiry will look at this in more detail and consider if these practices amount to Unfair Contract Terms.

“We remain very keen to hear from small and family businesses that have faced difficulties with their insurance provider.

“I encourage these businesses to share their experiences by completing our online survey or emailing my office via inquiries@asbfeo.gov.au by 30 August, 2020.

“We also welcome submissions from industry stakeholders, which can be emailed to inquiries@asbfeo.gov.au by 21 August, 2020.”

A final report is expected to be released in December.