Updated: 30 October 2023

John Price, until recently Lead Ombudsman, Insurance, with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), has received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contribution over many years – and at the highest level – to dispute resolution and to best practice and policy development in the insurance sector.

Mr Price received the 2022 SOCAP Australia Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual SOCAP Australia International Symposium Gala Dinner & Industry Awards last night. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has significantly contributed through a lifetime of work within the consumer affairs, customer care and complaints management industry. 

The award is a fitting acknowledgment of Mr Price’s nearly two decades of service in dispute resolution, and a career spanning nearly 50 years in the legal and financial services sectors.

“John has made an outstanding contribution over his long career and has been instrumental at AFCA and its predecessor schemes in providing independent, fair, efficient and effective dispute resolution,” AFCA’s Chief Ombudsman, David Locke, said. “He has also been a leading voice for many years on broader policy matters affecting insurance influencing improved insurer practices and consumer outcomes.”

Deputy Chief Ombudsman Dr June Smith added: “John has secured many individual outcomes for consumers and insurers in resolving complaints. But his true legacy can be seen in insurers’ improved engagement with their customers.”

Mr Price brought to his work not only a deep and nuanced understanding of insurance law but also an ability to work with both insurers and consumer representatives to achieve better outcomes for all, Dr Smith said.

The foundations of John’s deep industry knowledge were laid when he joined Maurice Blackburn & Co as a solicitor in 1978, becoming a partner in 1984. He led the industrial personal injuries practice there until moving into dispute resolution with the Insurance Ombudsman Service in 2004. In 2008 he became Lead Ombudsman, General Insurance, with the new Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). When AFCA replaced FOS and two other ombudsman schemes in 2018 Mr Price was appointed Lead Ombudsman for Insurance, a role he held until stepping aside at the end of June last year. 

Mr Price is known for his commitment to direct engagement with insurers and consumer groups, and for being a “bridge” between them, as one industry participant put it.

His direct engagement approach was evident early, at the time of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and the 2011 Queensland floods, when he made sure FOS was "on the ground" talking to those affected. He brought consumers and industry together to work out the most efficient and effective way forward. 

Under his leadership, FOS systematised the management of major disasters like floods, developing approaches that are still used within the industry today. He was among those who pushed for a standard definition of flood cover.

Mr Price also influenced insurers’ approaches to issues such as informed consent, contract readability, and protecting people with mental health issues from unfair, blanket policy exclusions. He has helped ensure policy provisions are applied fairly, for example by ensuring that family violence victims do not have claims unfairly denied because of their partner’s conduct. He championed the need to address customer vulnerability before it became a requirement under codes and regulation.

More recently, Mr Price led AFCA’s insurance team though the peak months of COVID-19, a period when insurance complaints jumped as the industry grappled with travel insurance claims. He was involved in discussions about industry-led test cases over business interruption insurance. 

Mr Price has also contributed as a Director of State Trustees Limited and STL Financial Service Limited, and as Chair of the State Trustees Limited Australia Foundation. He was a member of the Accident Compensation Committee for more than 20 years, a member of the Victorian WorkCover Authority Legal Liaison Committee and served on numerous Victorian Government working parties and advisory groups. He was also a Code of Conduct Commissioner for Cricket Australia and Chair of the Pennant Cricket Appeals Board for Cricket Victoria.

“We are fortunate that someone of John’s calibre continues to contribute at AFCA as a part-time decision maker and as a mentor,” Mr Locke said. “We congratulate him on this well-deserved award.”



Published: 26 August 2022


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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. It is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.

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