September 2017


AILA President's message
Angus Kench

Register now for APIC17

The Asia Pacific Insurance Conference in Singapore – APIC17 – is fast approaching.

Registrations are now open for the 18–20 October event that draws together regional and international experience and expertise to host an insurance industry conference that will provide an opportunity to focus attention on insurance issues relevant to the Asia Pacific region specifically, and globally as a whole.

This regional conference replaces AILA's usual national conference this year so don't miss out on this global learning and networking opportunity.

Get along to APIC17 to ensure you are future ready.


Young Professionals

I urge all young professionals in our industry to join AILA. Our education program is incredibly diverse, covering all issues of interest to the insurance market and you will join a global association of insurance professionals. It's an ideal way to ensure you keep feeding your career. AILA is not just about insurance law. It's where insurance law and industry issues connect. AILA offers opportunities to debate, relate and educate.


Optus case update

The June issue of Resolve outlined the NSW Appeal Court's decision in Optus Administration Pty Ltd v Glenn Wright by his tutor James Stuart Wright [2017], NSWCA 21.

The court ruled Optus was not liable for injuries sustained by Glenn Wright when a fellow trainee tried to murder him.

Since then, there was been further litigation. The NSW Appeal Court has ruled the injured man's employer, IPA Personnel, cannot wait for the High Court to decide whether to grant leave to appeal before it pays Optus $94,431 in interest on a sum of $776, 706 that Optus initially paid IPA to reimburse it for compensation paid to Wright.

After the Appeal Court reversed the initial decision to award Wright $3.9 million, IPA returned the $776,706 but retained the interest.


ASIC finalises cost recovery framework

Legislation has been passed to implement ASIC's cost recovery framework.

Regulated entities will now share the costs of ASIC's regulatory services for their sector. Read more here.


Mental health exclusions

Two travel insurers have agreed to drop mental health exclusions for new diagnoses from their cover.

Comparator website said QBE would continue to exclude cover for pre-existing mental health conditions but would no longer exclude cancellation and medical expense claims because of a first diagnosis. The website said Cover-More had amended its mental health exclusion clauses for new conditions and was reviewing policies for insureds with existing mental health conditions.

Stanley Drummond has written in this issue of Resolve about a Financial Ombudsman Service decision that a travel insurer's claim denial by relying on a policy clause that excluded claims arising from "depression, anxiety, stress, mental or nervous conditions" was unlawful discrimination. Click here for the full article.


Life code of practice launched

The Financial Services Council's life insurance code of practice came into effect from June 30.

The code binds 22 FSC members and is an industry commitment to mandatory customer service standards.

It was voluntarily developed by the life industry through FSC to:

• Promote high standards of service to consumers
• Provide a benchmark of consistency within the industry
• Establish a framework for professional behaviour and responsibilities.

Click here for more information.


Spotless class action averted

Litigation funder IMF Bentham has asked the Federal Court to approve its withdrawal from William Roberts Lawyers' (WRL) Spotless Group Holdings class action.

IMF told the ASX it would write off the $510,000 it had provided to the action since February. The funder said information that became available after proceedings started, which it did not disclose, led to it withdrawing its backing.

WRL has alleged the sportsground cleaner and caterer misled shareholders in its FY15 financial statements and breached continuous disclosure obligations. Spotless welcomed the announcement, saying it had "at all times been in compliance with its continuous disclosure obligations".


Insurance Monitor seeks pledge on ESL

In the wake of the NSW Government deferring the fire and emergency services levy and returning to the emergency services levy (ESL), the Insurance Monitor has asked NSW insurer CEOs to commit to a pledge to follow the monitor's previously issued guidelines on insurer conduct. Click here to read the pledge.

The guidelines prohibit price exploitation and engaging in false or misleading conduct in relation to the ESL reforms.


June renewals

Pricing remained inadequate at the June renewals, but there are signs the market is turning.

Prudent underwriters have long been saying that pricing across most lines, and certainly in the commercial classes, is inadequate to sustain going forward, coupled with the fact insurers have reduced capacity to call on reserves because some have done that to a large extent in recent years.

No doubt this will be among topics for discussion in Singapore at APIC17. Other topics include:

- Regional initiatives for insurance regulatory integration
- Financial services and insurance liberalisation
- Duty of utmost good faith – 250 years after Carter v Boehm
- Catastrophe modelling in Asia
- Managing casualty aggregation risks
- Cyber simulation and managing BI after cyber attacks
- Pricing and profitability in Asia
- Supply chain dynamics ­– food and product safety in Asia
- Managing litigation risks in the USA
- Marine claims in Asia.

 Full program details are at

I look forward to seeing you there.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.