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28 August 2020

Ombudsman’s Insurance Inquiry sees surge in small business surveys

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s Insurance Inquiry has attracted a huge public response, with more than 700 surveys completed by small businesses so far.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell says small businesses have until Sunday (30 August, 2020) to share their experiences with insurance providers by completing the online survey.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to this inquiry since we launched it earlier this month, which shows how big an issue insurance accessibility is for small businesses,” Ms Carnell says.

“The feedback we’ve had from small businesses so far has been insightful and concerning, with many small businesses claiming to have been denied insurance outright.

“This is particularly the case for many small businesses seeking public liability insurance, which is essential to continue their operations.

“We’ve heard from a number of small businesses that have been unable to get insurance for natural disasters.

“Cost has also emerged as a major issue, with many small businesses complaining their insurance premiums have doubled or even tripled in just a few years.

 “Over the coming months we will be investigating these claims and examining if small business insurance products are fit for purpose.

“Of serious concern has been the number of small businesses that have had their insurance policies substantially changed, reducing the level of coverage, without their consent and with no refund of premiums. Our inquiry will determine if these practices amount to Unfair Contract Terms.”

Small and family businesses that have experienced difficulties with their insurance provider have until 30 August, 2020, to complete our online survey or email inquiries@asbfeo.gov.au

A final report is scheduled for release in December.