FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The FAQs on this page have been prepared by Our Ark Management Pty Ltd (ACN: 619 600 118), acting as an authorised representative of Asia Mideast Insurance And Reinsurance Pty Ltd (ACN: 079 924 851 AFSL no: 239926 ). Our Ark Management is authorised to provide general financial advice on miscellaneous financial risk products (AR no: 1283496) when promoting the offer of discretionary protection issued by Our Ark Mutual Limited (ACN: 627 006 213). Any commentary provided on this page which is general advice, it does not take account of your individual situation and you should consider Our Ark’s Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement before deciding to become a member and to purchase and hold discretionary protection issued by Our Ark Mutual Limited.
WHAT IS OUR ARK MUTUAL?
Our Ark Mutual Limited ACN 627 006 213 entity is a Company Limited by Guarantee. It is owned by its members and its board is solely focused on operating Our Ark for the benefit of members. This is described in its constitution. The board comprises non-executive independent directors, member representative directors and manager representative directors. Read more about the board here on the Team page.
WHAT IS RISK PROTECTION?
A discretionary mutual is a structure that offers discretionary risk protection to its members.
Discretionary protection is similar to insurance because both offer protection against a certain event or risk (for example, damage to crops from hail). However, the key difference is:
Under an insurance policy, the protected person (the insured) has the contractual right to have their claim paid (if the claim meets all the policy terms and conditions);
Under a discretionary risk product, the protected person has the right to have their claim considered and for a decision to be made about paying the claim (the exercise of discretion).
HOW DO I GET A QUOTE?
We will soon be adding online quoting for some products. For now, email us your renewal at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get on to it.
WHAT IS A CONTRIBUTION
Whereas you may pay a premium for your insurance, you make a contribution (including GST) to the mutual for a risk protection product.
WILL I SAVE MONEY?
Insurance policies attract government charges for GST, Stamp duty and (in some states) emergency services levies.
Risk protection contributions attract GST but not stamp duty or emergency services levies. Our Ark aims to provide sharp pricing up front which is risk responsive - so you may see a further saving on your contribution but this will vary.
In the longer term, any surplus profits made by Our Ark are retained for the benefit of members (including any members that subscribe for a Mutual Capital Instrument). This means that a favourable claims experience for the Our Ark community could lead to expanded coverage and contribution rebates, amongst other things.
WHAT IS A CONTRIBUTION REBATE?
Where the board resolves that the mutual has surplus capital, it may use some of those funds to reduce member contributions. This is done by way of a contribution rebate which sees the your next contribution reduced by the amount of the rebate.
Your rebate is subject to the surplus distribution algorithm which is driven, amongst other things, by member tenure (longer = better), size of contribution (higher = better), claim experience (less = better) and products held (more = better).
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER OF THE MUTUAL?
You automatically become a member when you apply for a risk protection product, you meet our board criteria, we offer you cover and you pay your contribution.
WHY DON’T YOU HAVE AN EXCESS?
We do not have an excess because if you have a claim and can’t afford the excess at that time then you are in a real bind when it comes to getting your claim sorted out.
Our Ark’s products have a claim hurdle (also known as a threshold). If the claim exceeds the hurdle, we do not deduct that amount from your claim nor require you to fund that amount before paying the claim. This is the difference between a hurdle and an excess – in essence, we still pay that part of the claim once the hurdle is exceeded.
The level of the hurdle is set so that inefficient small claims do not drive Our Ark's administration costs up and we can keep your contributions as low as possible.
HOW ARE CLAIMS HANDLED?
Our Ark Management uses a state of the art claim management system to engage the relevant people to sort out your claim. The system has access to a comprehensive panel of suppliers together having wide coverage across Australia and New Zealand.
HOW ARE DISPUTES ADDRESSED?
We are committed to ensuring our products and services meet your expectations and we value feedback on how we are performing. Our customer care team is the first point of contact and will aim to resolve your complaint.
We will attempt to respond to your complaint within 15 business days of the date we receive your complaint.
If you wish to dispute the decision about a claim made by Our Ark Mutual, please contact us in the first instance by making a written submission to the Mutual and asking the Board to reconsider their decision.
If you are not satisfied with our decision or if your complaint remains unresolved after 15 business days, you may refer the matter to our Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) team.
Disputes processed by the IDR team will be presented to a Review Committee. The review will be guided by the principles of good faith, equity and merit. If you are still unhappy with the outcome, you can choose to have the matter resolved externally.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint or we do not resolve your complaint within 45 calendar days of the date on which we first received your complaint, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). This independent body provides its service free of charge and we will abide by the outcome. The decision is not binding on you.
AFCA is an external complaints resolution scheme approved by ASIC to provide free advice and assistance to consumers to help them in resolving complaints relating to members of the financial services industry. Information about AFCA, and the types of disputes that it can consider, can be found at its website.
ARE YOU AN APRA INSURER?
Our Ark is not an APRA Insurer. We are a Discretionary Mutual Fund (DMF). DMFs offer a ‘discretionary cover’, that is, an insurance-like product that may involve an obligation on the DMF to entertain a claim. However, it gives the DMF's board a discretion as to whether it will pay the claim.
IS THE MUTUAL SECURE?
Whilst Our Ark is not supervised by APRA, the board follows many of the principles outlined by APRA in the GPS and CPS prudential standards. These include, but are not limited to; risk management practices, capital calculations, (re)insurance requirements and information security.
The mutual's balance sheet is protected by A+ Insurers (which acts like reinsurance bought by insurance companies). These policies protect the mutual for cases where there is an extraordinarily large claim or a number of claims that arise from the same event.
This means that, in addition to the capital held by the mutual, it has greater capacity to withstand adverse claims experience of the community.
The board of Our Ark requires actuarial assessment of amounts outstanding on past claims to ensure that there are adequate provisions for future payments relating to those claims.
The board also considers prospective analysis of the financial condition of the mutual to inform the level of contributions required, with the intention being that expected claims and operating expenses would be adequately covered by those contributions.
DO YOU OFFER FREE QUOTES/CONSULTATIONS TO POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS?
Yes. Our Ark will offer a quote at no cost to you. We may require your co-operation in providing additional information to allow us to give you the best possible price.
WHERE DID THE BASE CAPITAL COME FROM
Our Ark's capital base is a combination of Mutual Capital Instrument (MCI) shares and retained earnings from member contributions.
MCIs have been initially funded by the founding member and people related to the founding member. In future additional MCIs may be issued to support the growth of Our Ark. Eventually, it is expected that all MCIs will be redeemed and Our Ark will be entirely funded by retained earnings from member activities.
WHAT IS AN MCI?
Mutual Capital Instruments were introduced to the Corporations Act (2001) in 2019. They allow an MCI mutual to issue shares to complement their capital base.
MCIs and MCI Holders' rights are outlined in the company constitution.
MCI holders may receive a return on their investment in the form of dividends paid out of the profits of Our Ark, at the discretion of the board.
On redemption or windup, MCI holders do not receive more than the principal amount invested. Any surplus funds belong to members, in accordance with the constitution.