August 13, 2010
A leading Brisbane law firm has sent delegates to Papua New Guinea to help the island nation reform its insurance contracts laws.
Since 2006, Barry.Nilsson. Lawyers has been working closely with the PNG Insurance Commissioner to introduce insurance contracts legislation into the country.
Partner Robert Samut (pictured second from left) and Consultant Samantha Traves (third from left) have travelled PNG to facilitate seminars for attendees from insurance, legal and consumer groups to ensure they are able to hear about and have their say on the draft laws.
The most recent seminar on July 29 saw 150 stakeholders attend.
PROVIDING FINANCIAL STABILITY
The insurance contracts legislation is being introduced as the need to provide both foreign investors and local businesses with financial stability and security grows.
Barry.Nilsson. Insurance & Health Partner Robert Samut is leading the team responsible for advising the PNG Government.
“The reason for the introduction of such legislation is due to the fact that the insurance industry is unique in so many ways. Unlike any other business, insurers are in the business of selling promises,” Samut says.
“Their promise is to pay a claim, or for example replace certain property should certain events occur. How do you sell a promise? You wrap it up in an insurance contract,” he says.
“It is the insurance policy that you hand to the consumer that contains this intangible, invisible promise. What the proposed General Insurance Contracts Bill does is give that promise a protective coating.”
WORKING TOWARDS CHANGE
According to Samut, the PNG Insurance Commissioner, Salamo Elema (pictured right), is determined to provide a market where insurers can transact business freely with consumers who have confidence in the policies which they are acquiring.
“At the end of the day, Papua New Guinea will have one of the most effective pieces of insurance contracts legislation anywhere in the world as a result of the learnings we’re able to pass on to them from the Australian legislation,” he says.
Barry.Nilsson. Lawyers submissions will be accepted from the industry until mid September with a view to introducing the new legislation in early 2011.
PNG is looking at introducing this legislation at the same time as the United Kingdom is also starting to seriously look at the reform of its insurance contracts laws.
Later in the year Robert and Samantha will be returning to PNG to conduct training on the application of the Act.