The conference theme is Beyond the promise – a new resolve. The theme reflects FOS’s commitment to working with all its stakeholders to achieve improved standards, ethical practices and service levels across the sector, and to delivering a fast, fair and efficient dispute handling process.
An industry panel, facilitated by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow, will feature a cross-section of experts from industry, community and regulation including Vicki Mullen (General Manager, Consumer Relations & Market Development at the Insurance Council of Australia), Alan Kirkland (CEO at Choice), Steven Munchenberg (CEO at the Australian Bankers’ Association) Sarah Edmondson (Senior Specialist, Strategic Intelligence at ASIC) and Dante De Gori (CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Australia). They will discuss how professional standards can be improved.
The keynote speaker is Katharina Kuehn, one of Australia’s first and leading consumer neuro-scientists and an expert in tapping into the non-conscious, often irrational nature of consumer decision-making. Katharina’s insights will help dispute resolution professionals identify key issues to address when dealing with customer complaints.
Managing challenging scenarios in banking and finance
Working with disadvantaged and vulnerable customers, including those in financial difficulty, and dealing with elder financial abuse are among the most challenging issues facing banking and finance dispute resolution professionals.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia National Conference in Melbourne on 8 September will explore these and other issues in breakout sessions designed especially for the banking and finance industry.
Philip Field, FOS’s Lead Ombudsman of Banking and Finance, will lead a discussion that explores the types of financial abuse, how warning signs can be identified, factors that can increase vulnerability, and the FOS approach to dealing with disputes where elder abuse is an issue. The session will also look at the role of banks and other financial institutions in identifying elder abuse, and the areas of potential liability this may lead to.
Philip Field will also chair a discussion examining responsible lending to small business, how best to deal with small business in financial difficulty, and how the new unfair contract terms legislation will affect small business lending and recoveries. Philip will be joined by an expert panel including Geoff Bant (FOS Team Manager, Investigations and Resolutions Banking and Finance), Craig Latham (Deputy – Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman) and Sally Davis (General Manager of Code Compliance and Monitoring).
Another session will discuss FOS’s approach to existing and emerging challenges relating to financial difficulty requests, including joint debtors and superannuation.
Tackling increasing concerns about how mental illness is covered
Mental illness cover is proving a complex issue for insurers and the handling of claims and issues involving mental illness is an area of key focus and community attention.
This and other insurance issues will be among those discussed at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia National Conference in Melbourne on 8 September.
A session led by John Price, Lead Ombudsman of General Insurance, will include insights from FOS, industry, consumer representatives and health professionals including Sue Harrison (Psychiatric Disability Services Vic), Brenda Staggs (Legal Aid NSW) and John Anning (GM Policy Regulation, Insurance Council of Australia). They will discuss forms of mental illness, growing concerns from consumer groups and the community, and FOS’s approach to insurance disputes involving mental health.
Another session will explore the benefits of conciliation: a dispute resolution tool that has been highly successful in the insurance sector. Conciliations are known to both narrow down the issues in dispute and retain the customer relationship. John Price, together with an expert panel including Jamie Orchard (FOS Executive General Manager Resolution), Benjamin Sutherland (FOS Conciliator) and Tim White (Allianz) will explore the benefits of conciliation and share their practical experiences of developing negotiation options, considering alternatives, and reaching successful early agreements.
How to avoid disputes involving life insurance, SMSFs and gearing
Changes in consumer expectations of life insurance have resulted in recent initiatives to reframe industry practices and may lead to an increase in disputes brought to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) Australia. Meanwhile, disputes relating to SMSFs and gearing continue to uncover common issues that could be addressed before they reach FOS.
At the FOS Australia National Conference in Melbourne on 8 September, these issues will be discussed in breakout sessions developed especially for the insurance and advice industry.
June Smith, Lead Ombudsman of Investments and Advice, will spearhead a discussion on current trends and good industry practice, including the new life insurance framework, misrepresentation and non-disclosure, claims handling, underwriting, and the application and interpretation of medical definitions in policies. Joining her will be a panel of industry experts including Ian Enright (FOS Industry Panel Member), Stephen Duffield (FOS Consumer Representative Panel Member), Katy Adams (Ombudsman), Sarah-Jane Christensen (Ombudsman) and Paul Callaghan (Financial Services Council).
The conference will also include a session tailored to planners, advisors and accountants dealing with investment, financial advice and SMSF customers. The session will focus on FOS’s approach to gearing strategies, including the affordability and suitability of the strategy and current trends and industry standards in SMSF advice. Discussing these issues with June Smith will be Dante De Gori (CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Australia), Paul Holmes, FOS Consumer Representative Panel Member (Legal Aid QLD), and Nicole McCutcheon and Alison Maynard (Ombudsmen).
Registration for the conference closes on 30 August 2016. To register, click here.
Media enquiries: Hannah Hammad, 03 9613 7402 [email protected]