ASIC curbs misleading advertising

Petplan insurance, issued by Allianz, has compensated 740 Petplan insurance customers over $231,000 following ASIC’s concern over misleading advertising.

Petplan’s website promoted the Petplan insurance product with a headline statement that the policy provided a 100% rebate on claims for veterinary bills. A small-print disclaimer then qualified this by stating that the 100% rebate excluded a fixed excess and non-claimable items.

According to its media release last week, ASIC was concerned that the representation about the 100% rebate on veterinary bills created an impression that Petplan customers were entitled to receive the full value of the 100% rebate on claims for veterinary bills. However, customers cannot receive the 100% rebate value for a claim made for a pet aged 8 years and over because, in addition to a fixed excess of $150, a variable excess amount (20% for a pet aged 8 years or 35% if 10 years or over) is deducted from the final claim payment made to customers.

Allianz has responded to ASIC’s concerns by agreeing to:

  • Remove all references to the 100% rebate on veterinary bills from the Petplan website
  • Compensate relevant policyholders who had a variable excess amount deducted from their claim amount
  • Update the product disclosure statement and the online sales process to clearly disclose the existence and application of the variable excess for pets aged 8 years and over.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, ‘Promotional claims that are made in absolute terms about a potential benefit must not create expectations that cannot be met. A misleading impression created by a headline claim cannot be corrected by a small-print disclaimer. When firms do not meet these standards ASIC will continue to take action to ensure better consumer outcomes.’

If you or your clients have queries or concerns about this matter, you can contact Petplan on 1300 738 225.