Australia

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Financial Services monthly wrap-up: May 2022

The month of May brought a lower number of material regulatory and industry updates due to the Australian federal election. ASIC cancelled the registration of a number of SMSF auditors for failing to lodge their annual statements. In superannuation, APRA published its Quarterly Superannuation Performance publication and Quarterly MySuper Statistics Report, which provides material superannuation … Continue Reading

Regulation Tomorrow podcast – Australian wrap up

The first instalment in our new Regulation Tomorrow podcast series, the Australian wrap up, is now available to stream and download. In this month’s episode Jon Ireland, Ray Giblett and Timothy Chan take a deeper dive on some of the key issues identified in April’s monthly wrap up covering the recent APRA life insurance statistics, … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up: April 2022

The month of April saw the release of the ASX’s consultation paper ‘Enhancing the ASX Investment Products Offering’, as well as the publication by APRA and ASIC of the latest data pertaining to claims and disputes outcomes for life insurance. April also saw ASIC extend the relief from certain dollar disclosures in PDSs for litigation … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up: March 2022

The month of March saw developments in relation to major legislative initiatives and regulatory consultations. Notably, the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Protection) Bill 2022 passed both Houses of Parliament and Amended Regulations pertaining to both Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers and the CCIV framework were registered. ASIC also opened up industry consultation on the AFS … Continue Reading

COVID-19 test case #2: The sequel to ‘A dry cleaner, dentist, travel agent, personal trainer, café owner and friends walk into a bar…’

The sequel to the business interruption second test case is now here. On Monday, the Full Federal Court handed down its decision in the second business interruption test case appeal.  The decision is an appeal from the judgment of Justice Jagot in relation to various business interruption insurance claims. The Full Federal Court also handed … Continue Reading

Crypto regulation is coming…what does this mean for insurance?

Following the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Financial and Technology Centre, Treasury has released a consultation paper on licensing and custody requirements for Crypto Asset Secondary Service Providers (CASSPrs).  Consultation is currently open and will close on 27 May 2022. What is the consultation about? The consultation relates to approaches to … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up – February 2022

Towards the end of February, APRA and ASIC continued to be active. In particular, both regulators released various consultation papers, draft guidance and FAQs for industry. Notably, APRA released a discussion paper on increasing superannuation data transparency and a note to APRA-regulated entities on managing compliance risk. ASIC also remade class order relief permitting insurers … Continue Reading

Open Insurance is finally coming to Australia… what does this mean for insurance?

Open Insurance is coming! On 24 January 2022, the Treasury released the Consumer Data Right (CDR) Strategic Assessment Outcomes Report (Outcomes Report). The Outcomes Report recommended expanding Australia’s CDR to Open Finance. The recommendation follows the launch of open banking in Australia in 2020, and a number of reports concerning the expansion of the CDR … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up – December 2021 and January 2022

As we completed a year and ushered in a new one, the December and January period turned out to be an eventful one for the insurance, managed funds and superannuation sectors. APRA has published its first ‘Choice Heatmap’, alongside its annual MySuper Heatmap, which track changes in the decision-making of super members. Meanwhile, ASIC has … Continue Reading

FSB publishes two papers designed to assist resolution planning for insurers

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published two papers designed to assist resolution planning for insurance companies. The papers are practices papers on Resolution Funding for Insurers and Internal Interconnectedness in Resolution Planning for Insurers. Resolution Funding for Insurers. This practices paper considers different sources of resolution funding including policyholder protection schemes and standalone resolution … Continue Reading

Winds of change as Government wades into cyclone reinsurance pool

On 3 December 2021, the Government released draft legislation for the establishment of a reinsurance pool for cyclones and related flood damage.  The release of the draft legislation comes after multiple government enquiries and reviews found that insurance for households and small businesses caused by extreme weather events is becoming less accessible and affordable. As … Continue Reading

The FAR is near for insurers: Financial Accountability Regime Bill introduced into Parliament

On 28 October 2021, the Financial Accountability Regime Bill 2021 (Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives to establish the much anticipated Financial Accountability Regime (FAR or the Regime). If passed, the Bill will expand and replace the current Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) under the Banking Act 1959 (Cth) and extend BEAR-like accountability … Continue Reading

Covid-19 Test Case #2 – A dry cleaner, dentist, travel agent, personal trainer, café owner and friends walk into a bar…

This is not the beginning of some outré joke but the context for one of the most important insurance decisions of the year. On 8 October 2021, the Federal Court handed down its long-awaited decision in Swiss Re International Se v LCA Marrickville Pty Limited (Second COVID-19 insurance test cases) [2021] FCA 1206 (Second Test … Continue Reading

The drinks are on the insurer: Insurance Australia Ltd trading as CGU Insurance v MOS Beverages Pty Ltd [2021] FCAFC 165

In a significant decision for insurance contracts in various industries, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal concerning the rights of a ‘third party beneficiary’ under an insurance policy. Insurers should take steps to ensure their policy wordings and policy schedules accurately reflect those they intend to cover. Otherwise, … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up September 2021

September continued to be a busy month in the funds, super and insurance sectors, as the industry is in the final stages of preparing for the anticipated breach-reporting, anti-hawking reforms and new customer complaints handling requirements which are effective from October. Notably, ASIC has provided further guidance on each of these topics to assist the … Continue Reading

Green light on 5 October regulatory changes

On 5 October 2021, a number of insurance regulatory changes affecting insurers, reinsurers, coverholders, underwriting agencies and brokers commenced under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act).  In this article we will briefly cover the regulatory reforms that have now taken place and look at what might be next. 1.   Product design and distribution obligations … Continue Reading

Government fills the void for unfair contract term enforcement

Following its adoption by insurers in April this year, unfair contract terms laws are set for another revamp. The Treasury has just released draft legislation which will make unfair contract terms unlawful. These laws have been foreshadowed for some time (see our previous update). Currently no pecuniary penalties apply once a contract term is declared … Continue Reading

A tale of two claims: Federal Court hands down two judgments on non-disclosure

In what has proven to be the best and worst of times for insurers, two recent Federal Court of Australia decisions shed further light on when an insurer may be able (or in the case of the second case, unable) to exercise its statutory rights in the event of non-disclosure. In All Class Insurance Brokers … Continue Reading

Not FAR to go until accountability regimes come to insurance

The Treasury has released for consultation the draft bill for the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR or the Regime). The Regime will apply to the banking, superannuation and insurance sectors. Importantly, the Regime strengthens the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR), and extends the regime, in line with the recommendations from the Financial Services Royal Commission, to … Continue Reading

Are insurers still allowed to talk to customers? ASIC proposes changes to Hawking Prohibitions regulatory guidance

On 21 July 2021, ASIC released Consultation Paper 346 and a draft updated Regulatory Guide 38 (RG 38) to reflect new legislative changes that strengthen the current hawking prohibitions. As many in the industry will know, new hawking prohibitions come into effect on 5 October 2021. The new hawking prohibitions will not only affect insurers, … Continue Reading

Treasury drops-off products from add-on insurance reforms

We previously wrote on the upcoming implementation of the 2021 insurance regulatory reforms, including the deferred sales model for add-on insurance products. On 8 July 2021, the Treasurer announced which insurance products will be exempt from the deferred sales model. What is the Deferred Sales Model? The Government passed the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up – April 2021

During April 2021, ASIC has used its product intervention powers to ban the sale of binary options to retail clients, as well as to extend temporary relief instruments amidst COVID-19. ASIC has also urged claims handling firms to lodge licences by next month. The superannuation sector has seen the release of exposure draft regulations to … Continue Reading
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