On 10 January 2020 we lodged a submission with Treasury regarding an Exposure Draft on 'Making insurance claims handling a financial service'.
As has been previously identified in respect to these proposed law reforms (when consultation took place at a conceptual level in March 2019), given the potentially broad scope of "claims handling and settlement services" there is scope for unintended consequences. We consider that one such unintended consequence is that services provided by accountants to their clients, including work undertaken by forensic accountants, may be treated as constituting a "claims handling and settlement service".
Lawyers are specifically excluded from the proposed law reforms under proposed subsection 766G(2) of the Corporations Act – which excludes certain activities of lawyers so that they are not regulated as claims handling and settlement services. We consider that CA ANZ public practice members who are providing professional accounting services to clients that are either insured or insurers in connections with claims or potential claims under insurance policies should similarly be treated as not providing a "claims handling or settlement service". This recommendation is underpinned by the existence of professional and ethics standards which CA ANZ members are obliged to comply with in discharging their professional services.