Calls for commission into Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm

THE Federal Opposition has urged the Turnbull government to consider establishing a royal commission to investigate practices at the Commonwealth Bank's insurance arm.

The call yesterday followed an ABC Four Corners program aired on Monday night about CommInsure.

It detailed several cases of the insurer rejecting life insurance payout claims on the basis of questionable evidence.

The bank's insurance arm holds policies for four million Australians - and the bank's overall integrity has come under question as a result of the ABC program and previous Fairfax investigations into its financial services arm.

Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer failed to commit to a royal commission but said the government would establish a Senate inquiry into the insurer's practices, due to the "very, very troubling" stories in the program.

Ms O'Dwyer said the corporate regulator, ASIC, had also this week launched an investigation into CommInsure and the wider life insurance industry.

Nationals Senator John Williams, who last year called for a Royal Commission into the financial advice sector, backed the Senate inquiry, but also said he expected there would eventually be a royal commission.

CommBank chief executive Ian Narev told ABC Radio the bank was an institution that wanted to "hold itself to the highest standards".

Labor's shadow financial services minister, Jim Chalmers, said the government must consider a Royal Commission as there were potentially millions of people affected by the insurer's practices.

He said no human should be treated "in the despicable, appalling, inhumane way" revealed on the ABC program.

The government has previously rejected Sen William's calls for a Royal Commission into the financial services industry.