So Now, Finally, You Can Communicate And Transact With Customers Electronically! An Insurer’s Guide To The Uniform Electronic Transactions Acts


The changes to electronic communication introduced into the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (“ICA”) by the Insurance Contracts Amendment Act 2013 (“ICAA”) mean that insurers are now able to take advantage of the provisions of the Electronic Transactions Acts (Commonwealth and State) (“ETAs”) and use electronic communications in the course of all your communications and transactions with customers.

To ensure you obtain maximum benefit from your electronic communications and transactions under the provisions of the ETAs you should:

1. Decide on the method(s) of electronic communication most appropriate for the type of information you will be communicating and your preferences for sending electronic communications (eg email, linking and/or SMS with or without URL linking).

2. Establish the rules for sending and receiving information by each means of electronic communication to be offered, including the time and place of dispatch and receipt and the attribution/authentication rules, as well as determining the mechanism by which customers can withdraw their consent or change their selected means of electronic communication and include these in your general Terms and Conditions (“T&Cs”) or have separate specific electronic transaction T&Cs.

3. Notify your existing customers about the options to receive information/interact with you electronically and consider how you might “encourage” them to go paperless (ie consent to electronic communications and accept the relevant T&Cs).

4. Build into your processes for new customers the mechanisms for electronic consent to communications and acceptance of the relevant T&Cs.

5. Consider how best to obtain the required consent of and acceptance of your T&Cs by your customers when dealing via brokers and authorised representatives.

6. Consider how best to facilitate and manage on–going electronic communications with your customers when dealing via an authorised representative or, in particular, a broker (eg is electronic communication to a broker on behalf of a customer satisfactory?)

7. Consider your data storage and back–up system capabilities to ensure that you meet both your day–to–day business requirements and the document retention requirements for each means of electronic communication to be offered.

Please see full guide below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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