Unlicensed commercial real estate agents - a real likelihood if proposed national licensing laws get the green light - would find it hard to obtain professional indemnity insurance, according to a newspaper report last week.
The report, in the Courier Mail, cited comments from risk management and insurance company Aon about a government proposal to remove licensing requirements for commercial real estate agents.
The proposal is part of the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for the national licensing of real estate agents.
“We believe it would be extremely difficult for unlicensed or unqualified commercial agents to obtain professional indemnity insurance,” Aon Risk Services sales manager Peter Lynch told the Courier Mail.
“Insurers, as part of their underwriting criteria, require professionals to be licensed and … ideally desire these professionals to be members of a professional association and to be undertaking continuing professional development.”
“Furthermore, if agents are permitted to be unlicensed and don’t obtain professional indemnity insurance, this creates a significant financial exposure for consumers.”
The real estate industry has reacted strongly against some aspects of the proposed new licensing rules. In addition to allowing commercial agents to be unlicensed, the RIS outlined plans for the removal of CPD.
Attendees to a recent series of information sessions about the proposed changes have also questioned how much of their feedback will be considered. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) - the body repsonsible for introducing the new laws - said that while they valued the feedback, they will now go behind closed doors to deal with the issues raised over national licensing.
“There was a good show of interested people representing real estate professionals and training providers who took the opportunity to express a range of views,” said a COAG spokesperson.
“We noted the REIA’s interest in continuing professional development, qualification levels and commercial transactions.
“The level of engagement so far has been encouraging and we are listening carefully to all responses.”