The Australian Consumers Insurance Lobby Inc (ACIL) is calling for an industry-wide ban on commissions and financial benefits to strata managers in the provision of strata insurance. It follows a series of consultations with the key strata management body the Strata Community Association (SCA) that led ACIL to conclude the industry is incapable of effectively self-regulating commissions in strata.
This move aligns with the recommendations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and is further supported by findings from the 'John Trowbridge Independent Review of Strata Insurance Practices' commissioned by Steadfast, which exposed significant concerns regarding strata manager remuneration.
Historically, ACIL had resisted calling for a complete ban, opting instead to explore the option of self-regulation within the industry. However, recent discussions with Strata Community Australia, spanning three meetings from July to November, have not yielded the desired outcomes in addressing key consumer concerns.
ACIL's advocacy efforts were aimed at enhancing transparency, choice, integrity, and accountability within the strata management sector. Although there was mutual recognition of the need to address “bad actors”, collaborative attempts with SCA have been insufficient.
A significant point of contention has been SCA's consumer guide. While ACIL advocated for a comprehensive guide detailing industry best practices for consumer empowerment, the final document created by SCA, despite including some of ACIL's inputs, fell short of addressing critical consumer issues. Key areas of concern that were omitted include:
Committee Oversight on Appointments: Advocating for transparency in notifying committees on new broker appointments by strata managers.
Transparency in Remuneration Changes: Highlighting the need for clear communication about remuneration changes during the appointment process.
Timely Information Facilitation: Addressing unreasonable delays by strata managers in providing essential information for insurance tendering.
Clear and Accurate Role Information: Ensuring strata managers provide truthful and clear information about their role in the insurance process and to present alternative proposals honestly.
Consumer Guide Omissions: Concern over the lack of advocacy for the distribution of the consumer guide at crucial times.
Further outstanding concerns include issues with contract conditions in SCA Standard Agreements and bow best practices will be adopted across the industry.
Despite SCA's efforts, ACIL stresses the need for more robust oversight mechanisms and higher standards to ensure consumer protection. This has led ACIL to actively campaign for a ban on commissions to strata managers, involving media and political advocacy, and referring specific issues to regulatory bodies.
Further Analysis: For a deeper understanding of ACIL's stance on banning strata manager commissions, we've produced a YouTube video that provides a comprehensive analysis of this topic, available at: https://youtu.be/S8CEJkumRIo
About ACIL: ACIL is a leading consumer advocacy group dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of insurance consumers across Australia. ACIL actively engages with industry stakeholders, policymakers, and government representatives to address market failures, promote fairness, and improve insurance practices for the benefit of all Australians. Further information about ACIL can be found on our website https://www.acilobby.org.au/ For more information about this media release, contact Tyrone Shandiman on (07) 3185 5256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.