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.
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.
In response to ASIC’s concerns that the representation was misleading, Allianz has agreed 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; and
- 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.’