Government urged to continue insurance reform

Government urged to continue insurance reform

THE Western Australian Government must continue to push the reform agenda for professional indemnity insurance and proportional liability in a market where insurance premiums continue to climb.

Recent evidence suggests PI insurance may continue to rise by as much as 29 per cent during 2004. This is on top of premiums that spiralled up by 300 per cent to 400 per cent in recent years. Additionally, insurance policies are being offered on a take it or leave it basis and contain exclusions that jeopardise their efficacy in protecting the public.

There is an increased likelihood that insurance costs may have to be passed on to the general public.

This may result in the public seeking out cheaper services provided by ‘professionals’ who lack adequate qualifications, are not members of a professional body and, because they are not a member, have no obligation to obtain professional indemnity insurance. I have written to the Minister for Government Enterprises Nick Griffiths, outlining the concerns of CPA Australia and urging the State Government to press ahead with legislative reform in State Parliament during the March sessions.

At their meeting in August 2003 all Insurance Ministers made a joint commitment to legislative reform with measures including:

Ø      Professional Standards Legislation;

Ø      Proportionate Liability;

Ø      Changes to section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act; and

Ø      Changes to relevant Federal legislation, including the Trade Practices Act, to give effect to State and Territory PSL initiatives.

The sooner these measures are in place and operating, the sooner tangible improvements in the cost and availability of PI insurance will be achieved, to the benefit of professionals and consumers of professional services alike.

Ian Watt

CPA Australia (Western Australia)

The following bills are scheduled to go before the Legislative Assembly for the sitting week beginning Tuesday, 9 March 2004:

p Magistrates Court Bill 2003; Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Bill 2003; Civil Judgements Enforcement Bill 2003; Justices of the Peace

Bill 2003; Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Bill 2003;

Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations (Consequential Provisions)

Bill 2003 and Courts Legislation Amendment and Repeal Bill 2003 - as

many Bills as time permits;

p Firearms Amendment Bill 2003 – third reading; and

p Children and Community Development Bill 2003 – at least completion of consideration in detail stage.

It may be necessary to sit next Wednesday evening in order to provide additional time for debate on the above Bills.

* This information may be subject to change.



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