Commonwealth Bank life and general insurer CommInsure has pleaded guilty to 87 counts of making “non-compliant, unsolicited” telephone calls to sell insurance products.
CommInsure is in the process of refunding $12 million to 30,000 customers.
CommInsure’s sale to Hong Kong-listed AIA Group was announced in 2017 but completion of the sale has been held up while CBA awaits Chinese regulatory approval for the sale of its 37.5 per cent interest in BoCommLife to Japanese insurer Mitsui Sumitomo.
The unlawful sales, through telemarketing company Aegon Insights Australia, were made between October and December 2014. CommInsure provided Aegon with contact details from its existing customer database
In all of the 87 calls involved, CommInsure failed to comply with the requirement to offer the customer the option of having the information required to be included in the product disclosure statement read to them prior to the offer to sell the product.
In some of the calls, CommInsure failed to meet requirements to give the customers a PDS before they became bound to acquire the product, and to clearly inform the customer of the importance of using the information in the PDS when making a decision to acquire the product.
In a review of the sector last year, ASIC said that outbound telephone sales of life insurance were “more commonly associated with poor sales conduct and increased risk of poor consumer outcomes.”
The Hayne Royal Commission recommended that the hawking of superannuation and insurance products be banned.
Apart from the payment of compensation to customers, the bank will be sentenced for its breaches of the Corporations Act.
CommInsure featured in the Royal Commission report for ignoring the advice of its own doctors when processing claims. It was accused of pressuring medical assessors to reject claims and of using outdated medical definitions to delay or deny payments.