Introduction to the general insurance code of practice
The General Insurance Code of Practice (GICOP) is a comprehensive set of guidelines that outlines the standards general insurers must meet when providing services to customers. This includes being open, fair and honest. It also includes timeframes within which insurers must respond to customers’ claims, complaints and requests for information. The insurance code of contact was developed by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) in collaboration with industry stakeholders, and has the obligations and responsibilities of insurers to ensure fair and ethical practices within the insurance industry.
What’s the purpose of the Insurance Code of Practice
To promote transparency, fairness, and good faith in all dealings between insurers and their customers. It provides a framework for insurers to adhere to when selling, servicing, and handling claims under general insurance policies, including home insurance, motor insurance, travel insurance, and various other forms of coverage.
What the Code means for the customer
The Insurance Code of Practice aims to protect the interests of customers and ensure a positive and fair experience with insurance companies. It establishes standards for transparent policies, efficient claims handling, responsive customer service, and accessible dispute resolution processes. Customers can rely on the Code to hold insurers accountable and advocate for their rights when dealing with insurance-related issues.
Fair treatment: The code sets standards for transparent and honest communication, preventing misleading or deceptive practices. Customers can expect clear and easily understandable policy information, avoiding any hidden terms or conditions. This Code ensures that customers are treated fairly and ethically by insurance companies.
Improved customer service: Insurers are expected to respond promptly to customer inquiries, provide accurate and relevant information, and handle complaints efficiently.
Customers should receive courteous and professional treatment throughout their interactions with insurers. This Code promotes high standards of customer service.
Transparent policies: Customers expect insurers to provide comprehensive and understandable policy documents, outlining coverage details, exclusions, and limitations. This helps the customers to make informed decisions about their insurance needs and understand their rights and obligations.
Efficient claims handling: The Code establishes timeframes for insurers to assess and settle claims promptly. It ensures that claims are handled fairly, objectively, and efficiently. Customers should receive clear explanations about claim procedures, and insurers are expected to keep customers informed about the progress of their claims.
Dispute resolution: If a dispute arises, customers expect insurers to have a fair and accessible complaints process. Insurers are required to handle complaints in a timely manner and provide written responses outlining the reasons for their decisions. If a resolution cannot be reached, customers escalate their complaint to external dispute resolution schemes. The Code provides a framework for resolving disputes between customers and insurers.
Support for vulnerable customers: The Code recognizes the needs of vulnerable customers, such as those facing financial hardship or language barriers.
Insurers are expected to exercise sensitivity, provide appropriate assistance, and ensure that vulnerable customers can access insurance products and services effectively.
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