Learn more about our:
- Customer Vulnerability and Financial Hardship Policy
- Modern Slavery Statement and Policy
- Product Development & Distribution Policy
- Whistleblower Policy
If you need to use an interpreter in your interaction with us, please visit the following link, where information on and accessibility to such a service is provided: https://www.tisnational.gov.au/.
If you need to use teletypewriter services in your interaction with us, please visit the following link, where information on and accessibility to such services is provided: https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/phone/services-people-disability/accesshub/national-relay-service.
Customer Vulnerability and Financial Hardship Policy
Last updated: 15 November 2021
This policy applies to the following companies:
- Marsh Pty Ltd (ACN 004 651 652);
- Marsh & McLennan Agency Pty Ltd (ACN 000 668 584);
- Victor Insurance Australia Pty Ltd (ACN 161 243 198);
- Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (ACN 081 358 303);
- Mercury Insurance Services (ACN 007 332 461);
- JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd (ACN 009 098 864);
- Echelon Australia Pty Ltd (ACN 085 720 056);
- Victor Insurance Pty Ltd (ACN 146 607 838);
- JLT Group Services Pty Ltd (ACN 004 485 214); and
- The Recovre Group Pty Ltd (ACN 003 330 167).
All references to Marsh, we, our, us etc. should be construed as a reference to the relevant entity.
Marsh recognises that a customer’s vulnerability can impact their interaction with Marsh and Marsh is committed to helping and supporting people experiencing vulnerability by taking ‘extra care’ with them through such interaction. The purpose of this policy is to:
- outline Marsh’s internal processes and procedures which have been implemented to help minimise the risk of harm in Marsh’s interactions with customers who are experiencing vulnerability; and
- help ensure that Marsh provides those customers with timely, consistent and targeted assistance.
For the purposes of this policy, ‘customer’ includes an individual insured, or a third party beneficiary, or member of an insurance product or other financial product Marsh issues, arranges or deals in. It also includes a client or customer or potential client or customer of Marsh, or an individual from which Marsh is seeking to recover money.
Marsh also recognises that family and domestic violence is one aspect that can particularly impact upon a customer’s vulnerability. For this reason, whilst all the procedures outlined within this policy apply equally to those experiencing family or domestic violence, Marsh also has specific procedures it implements to assist customers experiencing family and domestic violence. Where relevant, those procedures are outlined within this policy.
A vulnerable customer is a customer who, due to a certain factor or characteristic they possess, can experience harm or disadvantage in their interaction with Marsh or in their insurance arrangements more generally. A person’s vulnerability may be due to a range of factors such as: age; disability; mental health conditions; physical health conditions; domestic or family violence; language barriers; literacy barriers; cultural background; Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status; remote location; or financial distress. This is not an exhaustive definition.
As noted above, experiencing domestic or family violence is a specific type of vulnerability. Domestic violence refers to acts of violence by a family member. This violence can include threats and intimidation and may be sexual abuse, financial or economic abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, social abuse and/or damage to property. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) defines ‘family violence’ as ‘violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family… or causes the family member to be fearful’.
Marsh Employees who deal with vulnerable customers as defined by this policy will receive mandatory training. This training module helps our employees:
- identify and understand if a customer may be vulnerable;
- decide how best and to what extent we can support that customer;
- take account for a customer’s particular needs in relation to their vulnerability; and
- engage with a vulnerable customer with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion.
Identification of vulnerable customers
At Marsh, we understand that customers may be reluctant or unable to disclose that they are experiencing vulnerability. As outlined above, Marsh employees receive training to teach them to identify certain signs that may indicate a customer is experiencing vulnerability. It will also teach them techniques to facilitate an environment where customers experiencing vulnerability feel comfortable to disclose their circumstances, as well as other techniques to improve the customer’s experience. In particular, our employees must not require evidence of vulnerability, such as an intervention order or medical certificate, from the customer before they enact the procedures set out in this policy. Instead, we utilise these procedures if a customer self-identifies as experiencing vulnerability or we recognise signs or otherwise identify that the customer may be vulnerable. Having adequate identification processes in place also allows Marsh to best select the course of action appropriate to the vulnerable customer as outlined within this policy. For example, employees can treat claims as a matter of priority, organise/provide financial hardship help, escalate an issue to a more senior person, or refer the customer to specialist services for further guidance.
Interaction with vulnerable customers
Once we identify customers who may be experiencing vulnerability, we interact with them in a supportive manner. Therefore, we aim to always engage in careful and sensitive conversations with vulnerable customers. We keep such conversations confidential and ensure the confidential handling of all private and confidential information collected about a customer who may be experiencing vulnerability. This is particularly important in relation to customers experiencing family and domestic violence so that we do not disclose to the perpetrator of such violence that we are aware of the violence or other personal details of the customer that may enable the perpetrator to continue the family violence The training provided to our employees covers methods to interact with customers who have been identified as vulnerable to ensure that support, sensitivity and confidentiality are always maintained in our communications with them.
In our communications with customers affected by family or domestic violence, we aim to minimise the amount of times a customer has to disclose their family violence situation. We do not wish for customers to have to repeat their disclosures as we understand that reliving the experience can be uncomfortable and even traumatising. To do this, we may flag a customer’s account when we have identified that they may be affected by family violence. This also allows us to maintain that customer’s confidentiality and privacy more effectively, and implement specific security measures. We have internal procedures addressing confidentiality, privacy and security in relation to customers experiencing vulnerability. For example, before we communicate with customers about such issues, we will need to be sure of their identification and we do adopt security measures to ensure this.
We would like to make our customers aware of some strategies that can help us in our interactions with those who are affected by vulnerability. Specifically please:
- let us know if you would prefer to speak to a specific employee. We understand that, if you have opened up to an employee about your circumstance in the past, it would likely be more comfortable for you to make any further communications about your circumstances to them. We also understand that you might want to open up about these issues to an employee of a specific gender only;
- tell us if you need additional support from someone else (for example, a lawyer, consumer representative, interpreter or friend) in your interaction with us. As we are aware customers experiencing vulnerability may need a support person, we will recognise this and allow for it in all reasonable ways. Customers who need an interpreter can use a free government phone interpreting service called the TIS National interpreting Service available at https://www.tisnational.gov.au/. This link and further information about interpreting services is available on our website.
- tell us if you find it difficult to adhere to our identification processes. We are aware people from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community or a non-English speaking background might not have the identification documents that we require from them in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, we will take reasonable measures to support those customers by ensuring our processes for identification and verification are flexible; and
- also let us know if, when we are communicating with you about issues relating to family or domestic violence, you are not in a position to talk about such issues. This may be the case because the perpetrator is present or may be monitoring your calls or mobile phone usage. We will not communicate with you about these issues over email or over the internet generally because of the sensitivity of the matter and the possibility that other people within your family (the perpetrator or otherwise) may have access to your email account or internet browser.
Financial hardship help
Some customers may be vulnerable because they are experiencing financial hardship. A customer is experiencing financial hardship when they have difficulty meeting their financial obligations to us or their insurer. If a customer is experiencing financial hardship they may be entitled to financial hardship support. The support that we provide does not include support with paying the premiums under an insurance policy, but we will refer this matter to the insurer. A customer also has a right to ask us to fast-track a claim if they have an urgent financial need to have that claim paid. We must do what is reasonably possible to accommodate this.
For a customer to apply for financial hardship support, they must fill out a form located here. Once complete, this form will be sent to the Marsh Customer Vulnerability Officer who can be contacted at:
Phone: (02) 7252 2450
We will notify the customer in writing of our decision on their financial hardship support application, unless we have asked them for additional information. If we do ask for additional information, the customer has 21 calendar days from the date of that request to provide the information, unless otherwise agreed. If the customer provides the requested information, we will, within 21 calendar days of receiving that information, provide written notice communicating our decision on the customer’s financial hardship support application to the customer. If the customer does not provide all the information within the designated 21 calendar days, then we will communicate our decision on the customer’s financial hardship support application in writing within 7 calendar days of that deadline passing. If we are taking action to recover an amount from a customer, we will put that action on hold while we are assessing the customer’s application for financial hardship support.
Where it is decided that a customer is to receive financial hardship support, then we will work with that customer (and, where relevant, the insurer) to implement an arrangement that could include any one or more of the following:
- waiving our service fees;
- our release or discharge of the customer’s debt to us;
- delaying the date on which a payment must be made by the customer;
- the customer paying us in instalments;
- the payment of a reduced lump sum amount;
- the delay of one or more instalment payments for an arranged period;
- deducting the excess from the claim amount;
- waiving the excess; and/or
- expediting a claims payment.
We make no guarantee that any application for financial hardship support will be accepted and, in many cases, where we are not the issuer of the product or acting on their behalf, we will not be able to grant the type of assistance sought. For example, if we are not acting on behalf of the insurer, any help in relation to premium payments will be granted at the discretion of the insurer and we will refer your application to the insurer.
We are also aware that customers who experience family or domestic violence may also experience financial hardship, particularly where they are a victim of financial abuse. We will aim to determine whether, due to a customer’s circumstance of experiencing family or domestic violence, a customer is experiencing financial hardship. If a customer is experiencing financial hardship due to family violence, we will work with them (and the insurer) with the aim of formulating options so that they can retain their policy if they cannot pay their premium. These options may include:
- changing the benefit structure or the sum insured of the policy;
- reducing the benefits of the policy; and
- pausing premium payments, without cancelling the policy.
Where we are assessing a request for financial hardship assistance for a customer experiencing family or domestic violence, and the perpetrator is a joint policy holder, we will not need the consent of the perpetrator to conduct the assessment. If a customer cannot obtain the relevant documents usually required to undertake a financial hardship assessment due to their circumstance of experiencing family violence, we will take this into account.
In certain circumstances, we will not be well-placed to provide help or support to persons experiencing vulnerability, particularly outside the scope of the financial relationship Marsh has with the customer. Where employees identify that this is the case, they will refer the customer to external legal or support organisations. A list of external organisations which may be helpful to customers experiencing vulnerability is provided below.
- Kildonan UnitingCare
- 1800 RESPECT
- Lifeline (13 11 14)
- Beyond Blue
Australian Capital Territory
- Legal Aid ACT
- Aboriginal Legal Service ACT
New South Wales
- NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence
- Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
- Gendered Violence Research Network, UNSW
- Ask LOIS (Women’s Legal Service NSW)
- LawAccess NSW
- Legal Aid NSW
- Aboriginal Legal Service NSW
- Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
- Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research
- Legal Aid Queensland
- Legal Services Commission of South Australia
- Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
- Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
- Victoria Legal Aid
- Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services
- Legal Aid WA
Modern Slavery Statement and Policy
Our Modern Slavery Statement
To read our latest Marsh McLennan Modern Slavery Statement, please download a copy here.
Last Updated: 1 July 2021
Our Modern Slavery Policy
To read our latest Marsh McLennan Modern Slavery Policy, please download a copy here.
Last updated: 29 November 2021
Product Development & Distribution Policy
This Policy sets out the Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd (MAI) approach to developing and distributing retail insurance products for its appropriate target markets where MAI is acting on behalf of insurers. This Policy aims to support MAI’s customer focussed approach by aiming to provide our customers with products that are consistent with their likely objectives, financial situations and needs.
To ensure our design and distribution obligations are met, our customers’ needs will remain at the centre of our product lifecycle including:
1. The product design stage;
2. The product delivery stage;
3. The product review stage; and
4. The product modification or decommission stage.
In further supporting this objective, MAI will have in place Target Market Determinations (TMDs) which will guide the distribution of our products for appropriate target markets. These TMDs will be available on MAI’s and/or the relevant insurer’s website for all relevant products from 5 October 2021.
2. Product Design
The first stage of a product’s lifecycle is the design stage. MAI is committed to ensuring our products are designed so as to be consistent with the likely objectives, financial situations and needs of our customers for whom they are intended.
We recognise that we have a range of customers with different complex and multifaceted interests that should be considered in the development and design of our products.
When new products are developed or our current products are updated, we will start by assessing the likely objectives, financial situations and needs of the target market. This assessment may include:
- market research and feedback to assist us in understanding the customers likely objectives;
- needs analysis of internal and external data, industry data and other metrics; and
- our own experience and expertise.
From 5 October 2021, TMDs will be available for retail products describing the type of customers comprising the target market for the insurance product.
3. Product Delivery
After a product has been appropriately designed, the product will be assessed to ensure that we identify the distribution channels and arrangements that are reasonably likely to result in our products reaching consumers in the target market.
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure our retail products are distributed in accordance with the TMDs including: assessing the most appropriate distribution channels for each individual product; setting distribution conditions that our distributors must follow including distribution in line with TMDs; obtaining information about the distribution from distributors; customer feedback and taking appropriate action in response; and adherence to our regulatory requirements.
4. Product Design and Delivery Review
Regular reviews will take place to ensure that our retail products are operating the way they were designed to operate and that they continue to meet our customers’ needs. Regular reviews are also important to ensure our products are distributed in a way that is likely to reach our designated target market.
Product reviews may include measuring complaints, customer feedback and other claims data and market conditions whilst also drawing on the experience of our own staff.
Commencing from 5 October 2021, product design and delivery reviews may also occur in response to TMD review triggers.
5. Product Modification or Decommission
Following a product review, it may be assessed that the product or its distribution channel require modification to ensure they remain consistent in achieving the likely objectives, financial situation and needs of our customers.
Our products may also require modification in response to regulatory changes. If following a review it is identified that a product is not delivering customer value and cannot be enhanced or distributed in a manner consistent with achieving the likely objectives, financial situation and needs of our customers, it may be decided that the product be decommissioned.
This Policy has been developed by MAI in conjunction with Marsh Legal, Compliance & Public Affairs team and will be reviewed on an annual basis or as required.
Date of next review: 1 July 2022
Marsh Advantage Insurance Product Development and Distribution Policy v.1.0.
Marsh is committed to encouraging colleagues to report concerns about misconduct or an improper state of affairs without the fear of retaliation. Marsh encourages whistleblowers to seek independent legal advice but this Policy outlines some of your rights as a whistleblower. You can obtain additional information about this Policy by contacting Marsh’s Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Counsel, before making a disclosure, or in relation to an ongoing investigation.
The purpose of this Policy is to meet Marsh’s legal and regulatory obligations but also to encourage more disclosures of wrongdoing, deter wrongdoing in line with Marsh’s Enterprise risk management and governance approaches, and to provide individuals who wish to make a disclosure with confidence that they will be protected and supported. Therefore, this policy is an important tool to ensure that we continue to always operate ethically, and where we don’t, that appropriate action is taken in a timely manner.
This Policy outlines:
a. the steps a colleague should follow if they wish to raise concerns as a whistleblower; and
b. the process Marsh will follow should it receive information from a whistleblower.
This Policy applies to:
- Marsh Pty Ltd
- Marsh & McLennan Agency Pty Ltd
- Marsh Advantage Insurance Pty Ltd
- Marsh Resolutions Pty Ltd
- Mercury Insurance Services Pty Ltd
- JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd
- JLT Group Services Pty Ltd
- The Recovre Group Pty Ltd
- Echelon Australia Pty Ltd
- Victor Insurance Australia Pty Ltd
- Victor Insurance Pty Ltd
(collectively referred to in this Policy as “Marsh”).
Effective: 27 May 2022
Next Policy Review: 2023
3. What is Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying and calling out misconduct and breaches of the law and there are legal protections for eligible whistleblowers to support that conduct.
In Australia, the Corporations Act will provide protection to eligible whistleblowers who disclose information about misconduct, dishonest or illegal activity which has occurred within a company. Whistleblowers are protected, provided the following conditions are met.
4. Types of reports
4.1 What is protected
Reports of misconduct or a breach of the law by Marsh or its managers or employees to specific people is a protected report.
For example, you will be protected under the law if you report:
a. fraud, including defrauding of Marsh or its customers or suppliers;
b. the misleading of people to make a sale;
c. offering or accepting a bribe;
e. financial irregularities;
f. information that indicates significant risk to the stability of the financial system; or
g. breach of trust or duty.
You will also be protected if you raise an improper state of affairs or circumstances about Marsh or you had reasonable grounds to suspect that was the case. That may not represent a breach of law or regulation. For example, a business practice that causes consumer harm.
4.2 What is not protected
If your report of misconduct is based solely on a personal work-related grievance you have, the whistleblower protections will not apply.
a. an interpersonal conflict between you and another employee including performance management issues;
b. a decision relating to your engagement, transfer or promotion;
c. a decision relating to the terms and conditions of your engagement, or
d. a decision to suspend or terminate your engagement, or otherwise to discipline you.
e. In the event that a deliberately false or vexatious report is made you may not be entitled to the Whistleblower protections.
A personal work-related grievance may still qualify for whistleblower protection if:
a. it also includes information about Marsh misconduct i.e. a mixed report;
b. Marsh has breached employment or other laws punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or more, engaged in conduct that represents a significant risk to public safety or the stability of, or confidence in, the financial system, or the disclosure relates to information that suggests misconduct beyond the disclosers personal circumstances;
c. the discloser suffers from or is threatened with detriment for making an eligible disclosure; or
d. the disclosure is for legal advice or legal representation about the operation of the whistleblower protections under the Corporations Act.
5. Eligible Whistleblowers
5.1 When are you an eligible whistleblower?
To receive the whistleblower protection a person must be an eligible whistleblower. This includes:
a. All company officers, employees including temporary employees, contractors or suppliers of Marsh (whether paid or unpaid), employees of a supplier (whether unpaid or paid), and associates;
b. Former company officers, employees, workers, contractors or suppliers, of Marsh;
c. Spouses, relatives and dependents of any of the above individuals or of that individual’s spouse.
6. Reporting a concern
6.1 Who to report a concern to
In order to for the whistleblower protections to apply, you should report your concerns to:
a. a director, officer, senior manager, internal or external auditor, or actuary of the company that the concerns relate to;
b. people authorised by a company to receive whistleblower reports – such as dedicated whistleblower hotlines, the Whistleblower Investigation Officer, complaints officers. Marsh has authorised those Eligible Recipients in Appendix A;
c. ASIC, APRA or the ATO; or
d. a legal practitioner, for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation about the whistleblower protections.
Public interest and emergency disclosures can be made to a journalist or parliamentarian under certain circumstances and qualify for whistleblower protection (see section 8.2 below).
Marsh encourages you to make your disclosure to the Eligible Recipients in Appendix A in the first instance as we wish to identify any wrongdoing as early as possible. However, a disclosure can be made directly to a regulator, or other eligible external parties without making a prior disclosure to Marsh and still qualify for protection under Corporations Act.
You can make a report anonymously and remain anonymous throughout the process and afterwards, while still being protected under the Corporations Act (see section 7 below). For example, you can adopt a pseudonym and use an anonymised e-mail address rather than your company e-mail address. A whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous can nonetheless maintain ongoing two-way communication with Marsh, so that Marsh can ask follow-up questions or provide feedback. A whistleblower can refuse to answer any questions, at any time, that could reveal their identify.
Consent must be obtained in order to disclose the details of a whistleblower, however consent does not have to be obtained if disclosure of details (but not the whistleblower’s identity) is required in order to investigate the complaint.
All endeavours will be made to protect the identity of individuals that make a report anonymously, for example redaction of identifying information, use of gender-neutral language and appropriately trained staff conducting investigations.
A whistleblower can refuse to answer questions that they feel could reveal their identity at any time, including during follow up conversations.
6.2 How to report a concern
To report misconduct or illegal activities, colleagues can contact any of the eligible recipients listed or the Whistleblower Investigation Officer at any time, including out of normal business hours.
The Chief Compliance Officer or a delegate(s) has been appointed to the role of Whistleblower Investigation Officers. The role of these officers is to receive whistleblower reports, and to investigate and escalate to appropriate parties as necessary.
In addition, a senior member of Marsh’s Human Resources team has been appointed as its Whistleblower Protection Officer. The role of this person is to ensure that the interests of the whistleblower are safeguarded in accordance with the applicable legislation and Marsh’s internal policies.
Concerns can also be reported anonymously, at any time, via the MMC Ethics & Compliance Line, which is operated from overseas and independently of Marsh Australia.
Refer to ‘Appendix A’ for contact details of Eligible Recipients who Marsh has authorised to receive whistleblower disclosures, however, that does not restrict your choice of eligible recipient as set out in section 6.1 above.
7. Whistleblower Protections
In Australia, the Corporations Act will provide protection to eligible whistleblowers who disclose information about misconduct, dishonest or illegal activity which has occurred within a company. Whistleblowers are protected, provided the following conditions are met:
a. You are an eligible whistleblower; and
b. You make a report to an eligible recipient.
Where the conditions above are not met the disclosures may still be protected under other legislation such as the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Protections are also provided by the tax whistleblower regime under Part IVD of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Taxation Administration Act).
7.1 The information disclosed – a protected disclosure
The whistleblower must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the information concerns misconduct, or an improper state of affairs, or circumstances relating to the company and/or that the company or company officer may:
a. Have breached the Corporations Act;
b. Have breached any other financial sector laws enforced by ASIC or APRA;
c. Have committed an offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment of 12 months or greater; or
d. Represent a significant risk to public safety or the stability of, or confidence in, the financial system.
Reasonable grounds means that a reasonable person in your position would also suspect that information indicates misconduct or a breach of law.
Generally, there is no protection where the information relates to personal work-related grievances. You can raise your personal work-related grievances with your usual Human Resources contact.
7.2 The protections
Provided the disclosure meets the requirements of a protected disclosure discussed above, the whistleblower will be entitled to the following legal protections whether the disclosure is made internally to Marsh or externally to an eligible recipient:
- Marsh will protect the information and the identity of the Whistleblower and keep it confidential. Marsh may disclose, without consent, the identity of the whistleblower to ASIC, APRA or the Australian Federal Police, or the company’s lawyers.
- Marsh may disclose information other than the identity of the whistleblower without the whistleblower’s consent if reasonably necessary for investigating the issues raised in the whistleblower’s disclosure and reasonable steps are taken to protect the identity of the whistleblower, including redacting identifiers such as name, title, location or team. Outside of the exceptions above, it is illegal for a person to identify a whistleblower or disclose information that is likely to lead to the identification of the whistleblower.
- A whistleblower cannot be subject to any criminal liability (e.g. prosecution for unlawfully releasing information, or other use of the disclosure against the whistleblower in a prosecution), civil liability (e.g. action for breach of employment contract, duty of confidentiality) or administrative liability (e.g. disciplinary action for making the disclosure) for making the disclosure;
- A whistleblower cannot be disciplined or have their employment terminated as a result of making the disclosure. Marsh may implement reasonable administrative action designed to protect the whistleblower, or manage a whistleblower’s unsatisfactory work performance in the normal course of business; and
- A whistleblower will be protected from detrimental acts such as bullying, termination of employment, discrimination, the amendment of the terms of their role to the whistleblower’s disadvantage, or the unreasonable rejection of leave applications. This protection will include the appointment of a ‘Whistleblower Protection Officer’ and ensuring that information on the whistleblower remains confidential.
Should Marsh breach the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblower, or should the whistleblower become subject to victimisation or threatened victimisation, there are a number of penalties or remedies which may be imposed against Marsh and /or its employees. The release of details of the identity of a whistleblower is a criminal offence and the individual who releases the details could be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. The whistleblower may also be entitled to claim compensation and other remedies through the courts if they suffer loss, damage or injury, and Marsh failed to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to prevent the detrimental conduct.
You can raise a complaint about any breach of your confidentiality, victimisation or threatened victimisation, or any other aspect of this Policy with the Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Counsel. You can also lodge a complaint with a regulator, such as ASIC, APRA or the ATO, for investigation, if you believe you have suffered detriment.
It is important to note that the above protections do not provide immunity to the whistleblower for any misconduct they have engaged in.
If a disclosure from a Whistleblower results in a determination that the disclosure is incorrect, the Whistleblower is still entitled to the protections outlined above.
8. Investigating a whistleblower report
8.1 Assessing disclosures
A Whistleblower Investigation Officer will assess whether the disclosure meets the criteria of a protected disclosure as outlined above.
In investigating the disclosure, the Whistleblower Investigation Officer may consider the following:
- Is it appropriate to engage the MMC Audit team or a legal practitioner to consider the evidence provided and conduct preliminary investigations?
- Does the information provided support the alleged conduct?
- If proven, would the conduct amount to a breach of the Corporations Act, or other legislation, or does it represent a danger to the public or the financial system?
- Was there any delay in disclosing the information, and if so, what explanation was given for the delay?
If required by procedural fairness and natural justice, any employee who are the subject of a whistleblowing report will be informed of the subject matter of the report and may be given an opportunity to respond, prior to any adverse actions being taken, providing that the confidentiality of the whistleblower is not jeopardised.
There may be limits to the investigation that Marsh can conduct e.g. if a disclosure was made anonymously and the whistleblower refuses to provide an ongoing contact or has not provided a means to contact them at all. In certain limited circumstances, it may not be possible to commence an investigation should the Whistleblower refuse to disclose their identity or if we are not able maintain ongoing communication with the Whistleblower.
When an investigation needs to be undertaken, the process will be objective, fair and independent.
In situations where it is appropriate to document findings, once the report has been assessed and/or investigated, the findings and outcome will be formally documented and retained securely on file with the disclosure. Access to those materials will be restricted to those directly involved in managing and investigating the disclosure.
Provision of the final report to the Whistleblower will be decided on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee that a Whistleblower will be provided with any report on the matter.
8.2 Keeping the whistleblower informed
The Whistleblower Investigation Officer will endeavour to keep the whistleblower updated at least every 15 working days on the progress of the investigation and the findings (unless the report was made anonymously and without contact details). However, due to confidentiality issues they may not be able to provide much detail and there may be circumstances where it is not appropriate to provide details of the outcome to the whistleblower. The frequency and timeframe of updates may vary depending upon the nature of the disclosure and investigation.
Where the Whistleblower Investigation Officer concludes that the disclosure amounts to a protected disclosure and should be referred to Marsh’s Chief Compliance Officer or Chief Counsel, they will:
- Notify the person who made the disclosure of that conclusion and either obtain their consent to disclose or keep their identity confidential;
- Follow the established practice of assessing incidents to determine whether the breach is to be reported to ASIC, AFCA or any other relevant regulatory body e.g. OAIC;
- Allocate a Whistleblower Protection Officer to commence appropriate protection procedures;
- Securely store all details and documentation relating to the investigation; and
- Ensure that systemic or recurring problems of corruption and non-compliance are appropriately reported to senior management where appropriate, being mindful of the need to maintain the whistleblower’s confidentiality.
The Whistleblower may make a report to a regulatory body e.g. ASIC, APRA or the ATO.
The whistleblower also has the right to contact the media or a Member of Parliament only if:
a. at least 90 days have lapsed since making a report to a regulator and there are reasonable grounds to believe no action has been taken, or the matter is one of public interest; or
b. the whistleblower believes, on reasonable grounds, that there is a substantial and imminent danger to the health or safety of one or more persons or the environment; and
c. they identify their initial disclosure to the applicable regulator and the intention to approach the media or parliamentarian.
The whistleblower should contact an independent legal adviser before making such a disclosure to the media or a member of parliament.
9. The Marsh & McLennan Companies Ethics & Compliance Line
Marsh colleagues are required to comply with the MMC Code of Conduct ‘The Greater Good’, which in turn requires compliance with laws and regulations.
Marsh colleagues are encouraged to disclose violations of The Greater Good or misconduct within the organisation to managers, Legal & Compliance or Human Resources. To enable staff to make such disclosures the MMC Ethics & Compliance Line has been established.
For more information on the types of disclosure which can be made through the MMC Ethics and Compliance Line, please
refer to The Greater Good, or www.compliance.mmc.com, or www.EthicsComplianceLine.com.
If you wish to rely on the protections of the Corporations Act for whistleblowers, you must either:
i. follow the whistleblower reporting process set out in section 6.1 above, or
ii. contact ASIC or APRA directly, or
iii. contact a legal adviser for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or legal representation.
Disclosers who submit reports about issues and concerns will not be able to access the whistleblower protections under the Corporations Act (or Taxation Administration Act where applicable) unless they follow the prescribed process.
9.1 Commitment to protecting whistleblowers
Whistleblower Protection Officers are responsible for ensuring whistleblowers are protected from direct or indirect detrimental action and that the culture of the workplace is supportive of protected disclosures being made.
A Whistleblower Protection Officer may:
- Review the immediate welfare and protection needs of a whistleblower and seek to ensure a supportive work environment;
- Advise the whistleblower of the protections available to them;
- Listen and respond to any concerns regarding harassment, intimidation or victimization;
- Keep contemporaneous records of all aspects of the case management of the whistleblower including all contact and follow-up action; and
- Ensure the expectations of the whistleblower are realistic.
All colleagues are aware that it is an offence to take any type of detrimental action against a person who makes a disclosure.
Managers are required to ensure that their teams understand the purpose of this Policy and the protections afforded.
Whistleblower Investigation Officers will receive appropriate training in order to handle whistleblowing reports.
This Policy will appear on Marsh’s intranet page and can be located by searching “Whistleblower Policy”.
9.2 Reporting occurrence of detrimental action
If the whistleblower reports an incident, or threat of harassment, victimisation, discrimination or adverse treatment that would amount to detrimental action being taken in reprisal for making the disclosure, the Whistleblower Protection Officer will:
- Record details of the incident;
- Advise the whistleblower of their rights under the Corporations Act; and
- Advise the Whistleblower Investigation Officer of the detrimental action.
Any detrimental action for making a disclosure can be an offence against the Corporations Act and may require a report to the regulators. Where such action is reported, the Whistleblower Investigation Officer will assess the report as a new disclosure under the relevant legislation.
Phone number 1800 881 011