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"Decade of shame" for finance sector: SHONKYS 2019

AMP and entire pet insurance industry shamed as part of CHOICE SHONKYS 2019

Alan CEO Media Release CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland with the Banking Royal Commission final report

After the close of the Banking Royal Commission, CHOICE has shamed insurance and superannuation companies for ruining retirements, unfair contracts and pricing rip-offs.

"In the shadow of the Banking Royal Commission, we're still waiting for the finance sector to put its customers first. After a decade of shame for the finance sector, issues continue to emerge," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

"For this year's SHONKYS we had no choice but to keep the spotlight on financial firms that treat their customers poorly. Since the Banking Royal Commission, we have seen the lobbyists swoop into Canberra and try to water down much-needed change. The examples highlighted by these SHONKY awards demonstrate that the Parliament still has plenty of work to do to clean up the finance sector."

AMP Superannuation - for ruined retirements

Over 1 million zombie super accounts eating away retirements

"AMP received some of the strongest criticism from the Banking Royal Commission - and it was deserved. If your superannuation is with AMP, chances are you've had your retirement leeched off of to fund its executives 'lifestyles'. AMP holds the largest number of zombie accounts of any other super fund - accounts that sit there being wasted away by fees and insurance."

"For AMP, it's money for doing nothing. Managing people's retirement funds isn't your average business - there's a higher moral standard to meet when it comes to people's security and comfort in older age, and AMP have failed this standard."

Further information on AMP SHONKY:

- At the Banking Royal Commission it was revealed that AMP were caught charging customers 'fees-for-no-service'. At one point remediating these scandals was estimated at over $1 billion.

- 'Zombie' accounts are inactive superannuation accounts - you may have left a job or taken a break from the workforce and been left with a 'zombie' AMP super account. These accounts slowly eat away at your retirement savings with fees and insurance.

- AMP's life insurance (offered as part of your superannuation) has some of the longest delays in processing claims. When the worst happens, you could be left waiting months.

- Many of AMP's super funds are performing poorly. All AMP branded MySuper products have performed below average (based on 5 year returns).

CHOICE is partnering with newly established advocate Super Consumers Australia to shine a light on the biggest problems in superannuation and advocate for a better system.

Why an underperforming super fund could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars - CHOICE.com.au

Some video case studies are available on Dropbox: https://shwca.se/SHONKYS2019

Pet insurance - for bad insurance riddled with exclusions

86 policies reviewed - 0 recommended by CHOICE

"Pet insurance is the insurance a business sells when it wants to make money without providing any service at all. Riddled with exclusions and technicalities, pet insurance is one of this country's worst value insurance products. It relies on emotionally manipulating your love of your pet to sell you worthless insurance."

"This year CHOICE found this industry so bad we refused to recommend any policy. There was not a single policy that we could in good conscience suggest that pet owners consider buying. This also highlights why insurance companies shouldn't be exempt from laws against unfair contract terms - it's vital this special loophole for insurers gets closed."

Further information on Pet Insurance SHONKY:

  • Most Australian contracts are covered by 'unfair contract terms' laws - these protect you from big business using tricky contracts to rip you off. Insurers (including pet insurance providers) received a carve-out when these laws were introduced. Consumer advocates are calling for unfair contract terms laws to apply to all insurance.

  • Australians can get stuck in expensive pet insurance contracts because of 'pre-existing conditions' clauses. As your pet gets older, it's near impossible to swap companies and keep the same coverage - leaving you with huge premium increases each year.

  • Confusing clauses can leave you without coverage. Some policies will cover your pet for a disease if they were vaccinated, and some won't at all - vaccinated or not.

Six Things You Need to Know About Pet Insurance - CHOICE.com.au

The full SHONKYS 2019 are:

  • Kogan - for dodgy customer care
  • Medibank 'Basic' Cover Health Insurance - for failing at the 'basics'
  • IKEA Nedkyld Fridge - for failing energy tests and being bad at its one job
  • AMP Superannuation - for ruined retirements
  • Freedom Foods XO Crunch - for telling us a bag of sugar is healthy
  • Pet insurance - for bad insurance riddled with exclusions

Infographic available: https://infogram.com/1p1rm56l9w21pxtmll2vrjd6pmu6g17nddm?live

Other media releases, photos, video and graphics available for media use here: https://shwca.se/SHONKYS2019

Media contact: 0430 172 669, media@choice.com.au