Allianz and associated company AWP have been charged with counts of making false or misleading statements around the sale of travel insurance products.
Allianz Australia Insurance has been charged with seven counts with AWP Australia has copped one count against it in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney, alleging that the companies’ conduct had contravened the Corporations Act 2001.
ASIC had alleged that between 2016 to 2018, Allianz and AWP published information online, including on Allianz’s domestic, basic and comprehensive travel insurance web pages, that misrepresented the characteristics or level of coverage of travel insurance on sale to consumers.
Allianz was the underwriter of the travel insurance products and AWP was a distributor of the products. Both companies are owned by the same parent group, Allianz SE.
In some instances, the Allianz website was said to have advertised the maximum travel insurance benefits payable to customers, but failed to state that particular sub-limits, terms, conditions or exclusions could operate to limit those benefits.
The conduct was referred to ASIC for investigation by the banking royal commission. The corporate watchdog commenced separate civil proceedings in the Federal Court in September, for allegedly misleading consumers on Expedia travel websites.
The maximum penalty for each of the latest charges is the greater of three options: $8.1 million or three times the total value of the benefits that been obtained and are reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence (if the court can determine the value).
The third option is 10 per cent of the body corporate’s annual turnover during the year ending at the end of the month in which the body corporate committed or began committing the offence.
The regulator has also previously secured $10 million in customer remediation from Allianz and AWP for travel insurance potentially mis-sold to around 31,500 consumers through Allianz’s website and those of its distribution partners, including Expedia.
But the consumer remediation program is not an admission by either Allianz or AWP that they have breached the law.
The case is listed for further mention in the court on 20 April.
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