The recent insurance discussion paper received responses from a range of sources across sectors. These ideas could assist in developing appropriate insurance products and increase access to insurance for people on low incomes.
The paper, created with support from the National Australia Bank, sought to question and challenge the community sector, governments, and the insurance industry to contribute ideas and experiences, with the intention to address a number of objectives:
· Raise awareness of increasing insurance access, uptake and understanding;
· Focus attention of interested parties on how they can collaborate in order to develop and deliver suitable, sustainable, appropriate insurance products for people on low incomes;
· Facilitate dialogue between stakeholders to increase understanding of various perspectives;
· Identify and address potential barriers to increasing insurance access, uptake and understanding by people on low incomes; and,
· To increase understanding of the issues involved.
We received over a dozen formal responses, and supportive feedback from a range of sources, including the insurance industry, community organisations, government agencies and legal centres. Most responses addressed selected issues, while some were more comprehensive. A heartening number of responses and general feedback were best described as supportive, and while not addressing the discussion paper’s questions directly, provided context and information.
Currently, we are developing a report which will incorporate a summary of the feedback, key options for potential product development, and propose further research in these key areas. There appears to be consensus in the responses that the availability of a targeted and specially-designed insurance product for home contents and motor vehicles would be of benefit to many people on low incomes. It would also enable meaningful discussions in the community sector about asset accumulation and protection.
A recent Good Shepherd Microfinance survey of our NILS provider network, showed 33 per cent were “highly interested” and 39 per cent were “mildly interested” in developing their product offering to include vehicle and/or contents insurance. This demonstrates their interest in increasing access and uptake of appropriate insurance. Good Shepherd Microfinance is committed to addressing how we can meet this interest, and therefore ideas about how community finance providers and other organisations can be involved will be presented in the report.