Freedom Insurance staff wouldn’t take no for an answer, Royal Commission hears

Freedom Insurance staff wouldn’t take no for an answer, Royal Commission hears

Freedom Insurance retention officers made it “far too difficult for customers to cancel” insurance policies, the insurer’s Chief Operating Officer Craig Orton told the The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry on Wednesday.

Between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, Freedom Insurance received 37,500 calls from customers wanting to cancel their life insurance policies, but only 28.5% of those were successful in cancelling their policies.

Instead, almost half were persuaded to retain their policies without change, while the remainder were retained with changes.

Mr Orton told the Royal Commission that he listened to 400 sales and retention calls as part of a review requested by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), and found that many of these calls were unacceptable.

“It needed a lot of work,” he said. “In some instances it was far too difficult for customers to cancel.

“Not taking no for an answer on certain calls … that is something I will not allow to happen in the future.”

Mr Orton also said that 20–30% of retention officers received commissions, which could be “similar to the sales agents if not higher”, but that Freedom will remove commissions for those staff.

Freedom Insurance is a rapidly growing insurer, getting about 10–12% of new policies, and is in the process of acquiring St Andrews Insurance to diversify into other areas, such as loan protection insurance.

Balanced journalism is essential to keeping people properly informed. If you feel our coverage of this story is biased, please let us know.