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CBA life insurance biz to pay A$300,000 over misleading advertising

Commonwealth Bank of Australia's life insurance business will pay A$300,000 to a consumer advice service following findings by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that the unit likely placed misleading advertising on its websites.

In April 2016, ASIC investigated Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd., or CommInsure, which included a review of two of the company's insurance policies, the watchdog said in a Dec. 18 release.

This covered advertising from mid-2013 to March 2016 and revealed that "misleading and deceptive statements" were likely to have been made online about the extent of policyholders' coverage for trauma during a heart attack.

The statements may have led customers to believe they would be entitled to a lump sum payment in the event of a general heart attack, when in fact only some types of heart attacks that met defined medical criteria were covered.

In addition to the A$300,000 payment to the Financial Rights Legal Centre, CommInsure will also obtain an independent review of its advertising sign-off processes, in response to ASIC's findings. The insurer will report to ASIC by June 30, 2018, on the results of the review, including recommended changes to improve compliance.