Freedom Insurance apologises again as its shares get hammered
Freedom Insurance, criticised in the financial services royal commission for selling accident and funeral insurance to an intellectually disabled man, has apologised in a written statement.
Freedom founder and Managing Director, Keith Cohen, says the board, management and staff of Freedom were deeply sorry for “instances of unacceptable behaviour”.
Freedom Insurance sold a life policy package including funeral expenses coverage to a 26-year-old man with Down Syndrome who didn’t understand what was happening and found it difficult to express himself, the royal commission was told.
Freedom has previously apologised the man and his father.
The company’s shares today lost 20 per cent to close at 12c (see graph below).
“Freedom has already made a number of changes to its policies and procedures, including improved training of staff, increased internal monitoring of customer calls, reviewing and enhancing compliance procedures, and improving our sales targeting to better protect vulnerable customers.
“We remain committed to make any further changes required to improve customer outcomes,” the company said in a statement.
Freedom will carefully review the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission when they are released.
The company last month reported a 14 per cent increase in full-year revenue to $61 million. Profit was $13 million, down 6.5 per cent.
Last week the company announced a strategic review following a report by corporate regulator ASIC on direct life insurance.
ASIC says it intends to restrict outbound sales of life and funeral insurance in order to protect consumers.