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Complaints against insurers 

Home Building Compensation Fund  

NSW Fair Trading is able to investigate complaints about insurers approved under the Home Building Act 1989 to provide insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund (previously called Home Warranty Insurance) in NSW. From 1 July 2010 this also includes the NSW Self Insurance Corporation which took over as the sole provider of insurance under the Fund in NSW.

A complaint means an alleged breach or failure by an insurer (including an intermediary or service provider of an insurer) to comply with legal requirements or its conditions of approval to operate in the market of insurance under the Fund (including the market practice guidelines, claims handling guidelines or any other condition imposed by the Minister).

Insurers are required to have in place effective internal complaint handling mechanisms.

Accordingly, Fair Trading can only become involved in a complaint about an insurer following the completion of the insurer's internal dispute resolution process and where the insurer has been unable to appropriately resolve the complaint.

Complaints relating directly to decisions of insurers not to indemnify a beneficiary are unable to be investigated by Fair Trading. There is a right of appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal available to claimants in relation to a decision of an insurer to decline (in part or whole) a claim.

Talk it over with the insurer

Discuss your complaint in the first instance with the insurer (or an intermediary or service provider of an insurer) if you are in disagreement with them and you feel that their actions show a failure to comply with the legislation (or the market practice and claims handling guidelines forming part of the insurer's conditions of approval to provide insurance under the Fund). This may clear up any misunderstanding and address your concerns. Keep records of your communication with the insurer.

Role of NSW Fair Trading

The role of Fair Trading in investigating a complaint about an insurer under the Fund includes:

  • providing advice and information to complainants on their rights and directing complainants (if appropriate) to lodge their complaint, in the first instance, with the insurer
  • receiving complaints about an insurer's conduct where the insurer's internal complaint mechanisms have failed to effectively resolve the complaint
  • encouraging, where possible, the mediation and informal resolution of complaints
  • inquiring into the conduct of an insurer in relation to any alleged failure to comply with the legislation, conditions of approval, market practice or claims handling guidelines
  • determining whether an insurer has breached the legislation, conditions of approval, market practice or claims handling guidelines and, if so, the action to be taken regarding the breach.
Complaint handling process

Complaint handling process 

Who can complain? 

Where the matter has been unable to be resolved to your satisfaction through the insurer's internal dispute resolution process, a complaint may be made to Fair Trading. A complaint may be made by a builder, owner-builder, beneficiary or person acting on behalf of another person such as a family member, lawyer, friend or community organisation.

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Method of complaint 

Complaints may be lodged by downloading a complaint form, completing and forwarding it to Fair Trading or your nearest Fair Trading Centre. Or email the details of your complaint to the and attach supporting documentation.

Generally, Fair Trading will not action anonymous complaints.

You can download a complaint form in PDF format from the Forms page on the Fair Trading website.

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How can you assist? 

Please help us handle your complaint by:

  • clearly identifying the issues of your complaint and providing all relevant supporting documentation and information
  • where possible, letting us know what kind of result or outcome you are hoping for
  • letting us know if you change your address and or contact telephone number
  • immediately advising us of any relevant developments or if you no longer want or need our assistance.

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Culturally and linguistically diverse background 

If you are from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background, we will:

  • consult with the Community Relations Commission of NSW and
  • obtain an interpreter for you.

If you wish to speak to us over the telephone through an interpreter, you can call the Telephone Interpreter Service on 13 14 50.

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