The insurance industry has long been a lucrative business.
That’s partly because it allows people to access a range of benefits, from free health care to free prescriptions.
And because of the industry’s high-profile popularity, consumers are often keen to know what to expect and how to get the best deal.
All of that is on hold now as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) prepares to release its latest Insurance Industry Statistical Review (IISR).
While the ABS expects that the IISR will provide valuable insight into the industry, there is also a growing sense that some of the changes it is releasing will not be welcome.
One of the major changes is that insurance brokers are now required to give customers a written summary of the coverage available, along with the number of policy holders and enrollees, in order to offer discounts.
The new policy summary will also require a minimum of two statements: “You will get the same rate as you do now” and “The rates on this policy will be the same as the rates on the previous policy”.
Insurance industry experts have argued that this will increase the likelihood that people will sign up for a policy because they will not know if it is the same or a different policy, but it also creates uncertainty for consumers who may be unsure whether they want to buy the policy or not.
The policy summary itself is not the problem, says Stephen Karr, a senior adviser at the Institute of Public Affairs.
“This is not a policy summary at all.
This is a policy document, and it has to be signed by a broker.”
But many analysts believe it is a necessary change in the industry.
They point to a number of examples where insurance broker and consumer reports are now being published with a policy-by-policy summary, which has been in place since 2004.
These documents were used to inform consumers about how their policy would be paid, and were used by insurance companies to offer premium discounts to consumers, even before the introduction of the Essential Health Insurance scheme.
In the case of the policy summary, insurers and brokers have been using this as a tool to increase enrolment, and they have been required to comply with consumer information policies, such as ensuring that a consumer’s address is available and available to access online.
In addition, there are more detailed policies that have been created for insurance companies that give details about what is covered and how much it will cost.
In recent years, the industry has also developed a number the most common problems consumers face when signing up for insurance, such the problems that occur when they cancel their policy or have to pay a higher premium.
“The policy summary is just the first piece of the puzzle,” says Karr.
“I think we are at a point where consumers are very keen on getting as much information as possible.
They are keen to understand how their options are, how much the premiums are going to be, and that kind of thing.”
But some analysts believe that the change could also put more pressure on insurance brokers.
“Insurers have a long history of doing a lot of research and they’re looking at policies in detail and trying to make sure that they’re offering the best possible deal for consumers,” says Professor Scott Houlihan, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Public Health.
Because, if the broker can get a better deal, that means the insurer will have to offer better and better deals to their clients.” “
And I think that could be a bad thing.
Because, if the broker can get a better deal, that means the insurer will have to offer better and better deals to their clients.”
Consumers may not be happy with this change, but many are not ready to change their plans because of what they perceive to be an unfair advantage.
“We have a consumer who is really keen to sign up to get a policy.
But they’re also worried about the policy being different because of this policy summary,” says Houlich.
“So I think there will be a lot more people who are going for policies that they don’t really understand.”
But if the new policies don’t make insurance brokers happy, some insurers are not willing to go through with it.
The Federal Government is expected to release the first draft of the next IISG in March.
“Our plan is that this is the first step in the process of putting in place an industry standard policy summary and a consumer protection policy, which will give consumers an indication of what is available,” a spokesperson for the Minister for the Insurance Industry, Andrew Robb, said.
“That information will be available online to all members of the community, including consumers, at no cost.”
However, the ABS has acknowledged that there are some “potential issues” with the policy summaries, such that it is not possible to guarantee the same information on all policyholders.
The ABS is also working with