The case is the first criminal matter brought against a major financial institution since the Hayne royal commission, though the commission did not examine the specific matter.
ASIC’s case focused on calls made through a telemarketing firm working for CommInsure, Aegon Insights Australia, which had been provided with customer contact details from CBA’s customer database.
ASIC also said on Tuesday CBA would refund $12 million to 30,000 customers who were unfairly sold life insurance over the phone, between 2010 and 2014. The compensation is for customers who were sold the cover by Aegon Insights Australia, which was acting on behalf of CBA and had been given customer contact details by the bank.
ASIC cited a previous report that found almost half of the “‘Accident Protection’’ policies sold by CBA’s CommInsure in 2012-13 had been cancelled within six months of buying the policies. The regulator said this suggested consumers “may have felt pressured to buy the policy then realised they did not want it or could not afford it.”
The watchdog’s deputy chairman, Daniel Crennan QC, said: “ASIC is concerned that the way in which these products were sold was manifestly unfair, with customers given insufficient information to make an informed decision.”
More to come