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Guilty until proven innocent: car insurers have ways to make you talk

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After a series of scandals and investigations as well as a financial services royal commission that called for sector reform and changes to the general insurance code of practice, a report released this week shows little has been done to fix entrenched poor behaviour among general insurers and their treatment of customers.

Put simply, the report shouldn’t come as a surprise to the industry, the government or the regulator that insurers don’t always play fair when it comes to paying out legitimate claims.

ASIC's report found that most investigated claims on car insurance were legitimate claims yet the interviews were conducted more like interrogations.Credit:Jonathan Carroll

What is most disturbing is that the findings in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) report, Roadblocks and roundabouts: A review of car insurance claim investigations, echoed one released three years earlier by the Financial Rights Legal Centre (FRLC).

Separately, the sector, through the independent body that monitors and enforces an insurer’s compliance with the code, the Code Governance Committee, conducted an investigation that highlighted similar issues in the treatment of customers.

Despite this, little has changed.

It is a reminder of the power of lobby groups when it comes to diluting or delaying reforms and that industry self-regulation doesn't go far enough or fast enough.

The earlier FRLC report found the claimants it had reviewed complained they had been treated like criminals. They were subjected to gruelling interviews, onerous........

© The Age