The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (Asic) has secured A$35m (£19m, $26m, €22m) in remediation for customers of OnePath Life.
More than 40,000 will be compensated to make up for the “harms caused” by the life company.
This relates to the fact that clients were sold life insurance policies over the phone between 2010 and 2016.
“Extensive consumer harm resulted from OnePath’s poor telephone sales practices,” Asic said.
- Pressure selling tactics;
- Failing to provide information about key policy exclusions; and,
- Leading the consumer to believe that the salesperson was calling from ANZ Bank with a special customer offer.
At the time of the sales OnePath was indeed part of ANZ Bank, but their operated as separate businesses, the regulator said.
Asic deputy chair Karen Chester said: “For over three years now, Asic has pursued enforcement, regulatory and remediation action to tackle misconduct and stem consumer harm in the direct life insurance market.
“Asic has delivered deterrence through court action, disruption and improvement in sales practices and delivered compensation to tens of thousands of consumers who have suffered harm. Better industry practice and improved consumer outcomes followed Asic’s deep dive review of direct sales of life insurance in 2018 and three years of concerted regulatory action.
“Notably, the deep dive review also informed the evidence base for several Hayne Royal Commission misconduct case studies. Our review uncovered egregious sales practices, with tens of thousands of consumers paying for products they did not want, did not need, or were not suitable for them.
“It’s really disappointing that, despite OnePath offering refunds to around 26,000 consumers, less than one in two consumers (only 41%) have banked their cheque or arranged with OnePath for their refund to be paid into their bank account.
“If you are a OnePath or ANZ insurance customer who has been contacted by OnePath about a refund, please respond to OnePath to arrange payment of your refund. You can also call OnePath if you are unsure of what to do or want to check this is not a scam.”