The regulatory environment that governs the claims sector is an extremely stringent and demanding one – and given the critical nature of the services we provide and the importance of those services to those most affected, the policyholders, that is exactly how it should be.
At Crawford, we are 100-percent focused on taking steps to ensure that every activity we carry out on behalf of our clients and their customers is fully compliant with the governing regulations in the countries in which we operate – and given that Crawford operates in more than 70 countries, that is no small undertaking.
We believe that this commitment is core to the basis of trust that underpins all the client relationships that we maintain and ensures that when any company or individual works with Crawford they do so with full peace of mind.
As part of that commitment, we are constantly monitoring the regulatory horizon for any changes – and in recent years, one of the most significant developments occurred in Australia, sparked by the Hayne Royal Commission report and the subsequent introduction of the Financial Sector Reform Bill 2020.
This regulatory change means that from 1 January 2022, all companies providing claims handling and settling services in Australia will only be able to operate if they hold an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), or act as a representative of a licensed provider.
Crawford has had this regulatory development in its compliance sights for some time. As part of our preparations, we conducted a thorough assessment of our services and capabilities to ensure that the aspects of our business are compliant with all the laws and Codes relevant to our sector across both our loss adjusting and third-party administration businesses.
The regulations place an obligation on all claims management companies to provide an efficient, honest and fair claims handling and settlement service. Adherence to such qualities we view as fundamental to how we work with our clients and as such we were confident in our ability to meet the new requirements.
On November 01, 2021, our Australia business: Crawford & Company (Australia) Pty Ltd (“Crawford Australia”), was granted an AFSL by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In essence, what this now means is that as a company we will now be held accountable to the same high standards that our clients are held to.
We believe that the adoption of this new regime for our industry is a very positive step – it is imperative that every effort is made to enhance the regulatory environment in which we operate to ensure improved outcomes for our clients and their customers.
To that end, at Crawford Australia we do not rest on our approval laurels, but rather push ahead to ensure we are continually raising the service bar. For example, in recent months our teams have been working on multiple fronts, including the roll-out of the revised General Insurance Code of Practice (GICoP) training, including identifying and assisting vulnerable customers, implementing measures to ensure compliance with new aspects of the Code, developing policies relating to domestic violence and ensuring employees understand how the law now considers claims handling as a financial service.
We know that behind every claim there are people who look to Crawford on their worst days to help them restore their lives, their businesses and their communities. That places a huge responsibility on our shoulders and is what drives us to ensure that we always adhere to the highest possible standards of service.