The regulation of insurance intermediaries in the Australian financial services market

Tarr, Julie-Anne (2010) The regulation of insurance intermediaries in the Australian financial services market. Australian Business Law Review, 38(6), pp. 332-350.

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The insurance industry discharges a critical role in the Australian economy and is a significant part of the Australian financial services market. The industry relies upon intermediaries, the principal types being brokers and agents, to promote, arrange and distribute their products and services in the market. The pivotal role that they play in this context and sensitivities associated with the consumer oriented products, such as house and contents insurance, has ensured close regulatory attention. Of particular importance was the passage of the Insurance (Agents and Brokers) Act 1984 (Cth), a comprehensive attempt to address the responsibilities of intermediaries as well as particular problem areas associated with the handling of money. However, with the introduction of financial services and market reform early in the new millennium this insurance intermediary specific regulatory approach was abandoned in favour of a market-wide strategy; that is, market reform was based upon across-the-board licensing, disclosure, conduct and fairness standards, and all financial products and services are now regulated at a generic level under Ch 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). This article briefly explores the categories of insurance intermediaries and the relevant distinctions between them but focuses mainly upon the regulatory context in which they operate. This context transcends a strictly legal framework as the regulatory body, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), has sought to inform and guide the market through Policy Statements and Regulatory Guides. The usefulness of these guides as an adjunct to the legislation in explaining the scope and operation of regulatory framework is examined. In addition, the article looks at the self-regulatory and dispute resolution practices in this area and their impact. In conclusion an assessment of this across-the-board regulatory regime is advanced.

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ID Code: 39947
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0310-1053
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BANKING FINANCE AND INVESTMENT (150200) > Insurance Studies (150204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Deposited On: 10 Feb 2011 01:47
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:31

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