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APRA has written to life insurers and super funds, urging them to address what it views to be concerning trends and practices in the provision of insurance to superannuation members.
APRA has noted significant deterioration in group life insurance claims experience in 2019 and 2020, with the potential for the re-emergence of unpredictability and volatility in insurance premiums.
Trends and practices observed by the regulator include unsustainable pricing and associated price volatility; lack of high quality and timely data; and undesirable tender practices. APRA is concerned that if these trends and practices continue members are likely to be adversely affected. The adverse effects could include further substantial increases in insurance premiums and/or reductions in the value and quality of life insurance offered through superannuation.
APRA says life insurers and superannuation funds must take steps to ensure that insurance offerings and benefits are sustainably designed and priced, provide appropriate value for members, and adequately reflect the underlying risks.
APRA has called for:
APRA has warned it will monitor progress on these issues, with “a focus on the interests of current and future superannuation members.”
ASIC has outlined a 12 to 18 month pipeline of litigation and enforcement investigations concerning superannuation.
In a speech at this week’s AFR Business Summit, ASIC deputy chair, Karen Chester said the pipeline involved eight matters in litigation; two briefs of evidence in support of criminal charges; more than 20 enforcement investigations; and multiple surveillances about potential super trustee misconduct.
Noting ASIC’s expanded role as the conduct regulator since the start of this year, Ms Chester said ASIC’s enforcement would tilt strongly towards “harm-targeted deterrence”.
“Our approach is premised on the simple equation that harming members, harms the future prosperity of Australian workers, and our most important pool of savings,” Ms Chester said.
“The broad misconduct themes are trustee competence and oversight, complaints handling processes and mischarging fees,” she added.
Ms Chester said ASIC would also seek to address risks or issues relating to misconduct in superannuation through “nudges” like Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO) and new complaints handling requirements, which come into effect on 5 October 2021 alongside DDO.
Treasury is seeking submissions on draft amendments for changes to regulations that support breach reporting rules.
The changes – which implement the Government's response to three recommendations (1.6, 2.8 and 7.2) of the Hayne Royal Commission – aim to clarify and strengthen the breach reporting regime for financial services licensees; introduce a comparable breach reporting regime for credit licensees in the Credit Act; and require financial services licensees and credit licensees to report serious compliance concerns about financial advisers and mortgage brokers respectively.
The submission deadline is 9 April, 2021. Further information can be found here.
The current status of superannuation Bills currently before Parliament can be found here.
11 March 2021