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Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is keen to hear from small and family businesses that have faced difficulties with their insurance company.

“My office has heard a number of complaints from small businesses regarding poor behaviour by insurance companies,” she said.

“Small businesses that have held insurance policies for over a decade without a single claim have been refused renewal. Others have discovered their renewal cost has more than doubled.

“We know of cases where small businesses with current policies have been subjected to major changes that have reduced their coverage without consent, and with no refund of premiums.”

The Ombudsman launched an inquiry into insurance affordability and availability this week.

“Insurance for small business is a practical and legal necessity,”

Ms Carnell said. “Small businesses can’t operate without public liability insurance but we are seeing entire industries either denied or facing unacceptably high charges.

“It’s a major issue that is forcing some small businesses to close.”

“This creates a serious risk to Australia’s economic recovery at a very precarious time.”

Small and family businesses that have faced difficulties with their insurance companies are encouraged to complete an on-line survey asbfeo.gov.au/current-inquiries/insurance-inquiry or email inquiries@asbfeo.gov.au.

A final report is expected to be released by December.

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