The insurance arm of Australia’s largest bank Commonwealth Bank (CBA), CommInsure has been charged with 87 criminal charges for breaking anti-hawking laws.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission claims that from October to December 2014, Aegon Insights Australia, agent of CommInsure, has sold life insurance policies named Simple life unlawfully via unsolicited telephone calls.

Aegon had received the contact details of its customers from CBA’s customer database.

As the calls were unsolicited, AISC states that CommInsure did not comply with all of the hawking exceptions in section 992A(3) of the Corporations Act.

As the maximum penalty is A$21,250 for each of the charge, the total penalty that the bank will have to pay is A$1.8m.

The case is listed for first mention at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on 19 November 2019.

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The prosecutor for the case is the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

ASIC has declined to comment further as this is a criminal matter.

The press release by CBA claimed that CommInsure “reported breaches of anti-hawking provisions to ASIC.”

In July this year, ASIC proposed a ban on cold calls for sales of life insurance.

ASIC is inviting feedback on the cold calls for insurance ban through a consultation paper. Its aim is to put an end to the sale of complex insurance products which customers do not understand, want, or need.