Push to protect small businesses from unfair terms in insurance contracts

In a submission to Treasury this week, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman supported the extension of unfair contract terms (UCT) legislation to include insurance contracts.

“In our submission, we argue that insurance policy contracts are ‘standard form’ and therefore should be subject to the UCT laws, to ensure consistency and a level playing field,” Ombudsman Kate Carnell said.

“The UCT legislation provides protections to small businesses from the use of unfair terms in standard form contracts and it should apply equally to all sectors.

“This would ensure that small businesses purchasing insurance have the same level of protection from UCT as they do for contracts for financial services and products.

“As recently highlighted in the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s Small Business in Focus report, unfair contracts remain a major issue, with many investigations underway and further actions on business-to-business contracts,”

“Our assistance team deals with disagreements around UCT every week. Since the introduction of the UCT laws, many of these contract disputes can be resolved in the first conversation, simply by referencing these laws.

“Meaningful change in this space is a priority and we will advocate for reform to ensure fairness for all Australian small businesses and family enterprises.”

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