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Undisclosed debt agreement results in rejected insurance claim

Undisclosed debt agreement results in rejected insurance claim

A motorist lost her insurance claim dispute after failing to disclose a debt agreement while renewing her insurance policy.

The insured claimed for damage to her car following an accident in March last year. After buying her policy in i2018, she renewed it in i 2020. The client had entered a debt agreement on January 31, 2019 but failed to disclose it to her insurer at renewal.

The insurance company rejected her claim, saying it learned only recently she had a debt agreement and would not have re-issued the policy if it had known.

The insured alleged that she was not asked whether or not she had entered a debt agreement when renewing her policy but the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) determined that the insurer had reasonable grounds to deny the claim due to the non-disclosure of information by the complainant. 

The AFCA found evidence from which it appeared that the insurer informed the complainant of her duty of disclosure on policy renewal in a clear manner.

According to AFCA , “Section 21 of the [Insurance Contracts Act] provides for the insured’s duty to disclose every matter known to the insured that the insured knows to be a matter relevant to the insurer’s decision to accept the risk”.

The complainant said the insurer did not ask her specific questions about her financial position and was unaware of her need to inform the insurer that she had a debt agreement.

“I acknowledge that the complainant says that the insurer should have specifically asked her about her financial position during phone calls, however, the insurer is not required to do this.” AFCA said

The certificate of insurance required that the insured confirm that she was not currently bankrupt or subject to a debt agreement. The AFCA states that the complainant “provided no information to indicate a change in the matter”.

The insurer said that it was prejudiced by the fact that she withheld information about her debt agreement, and would not have renewed her policy had she informed them of this.

The insurer had to refund the complainant's premium for the policy period that commenced from her renewal if it had not done so.

Published:Wednesday, 25th May 2022

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