The Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association today launch a joint Code of Good Practice to help insurers and insurance brokers recognise and help potentially vulnerable customers, who may need extra support when renewing motor and home insurance policies.
The Code is part of the industry’s ongoing work to improve consumer outcomes and to help all customers make the most of competitive motor and home insurance markets at renewal.
Under the Code participating insurers and brokers will:
- Ensure staff are adequately trained to recognise and understand potentially vulnerable customers at renewal and be able to offer flexible options to help address needs (where necessary).
- Periodically review legacy policies to, where possible, identify vulnerable customers to ensure they are aware of any more suitable alternative products now available.
- Ask potentially vulnerable customers at renewal if their current policy and renewal terms meet their needs, and make clear the importance of reviewing their cover.
- Consider if additional communication, for example a telephone call, is needed to help vulnerable customers through the renewal process.
- Ensure that the customer’s options, and how they can exercise them, are always clearly set out.
The Code comes into effect from January 2016 from which point insurers and brokers will have 12 months to prepare for its commitments. The ABI and BIBA will produce a report one year from its publication to assess its influence and impact.
The Code does not define vulnerability, as this is best left to individual firms to determine depending on their customer base. The Code does point to a range of factors that may lead to vulnerability in financial services, including a physical disability, severe or long-term illness, mental health issues and people with low literacy, numeracy or financial capability skills.
Paul Evans, ABI Chairman, said:
"This Code seeks to address the concern that vulnerable customers might be disadvantaged at renewal by simply renewing their policy from one year to the next without checking they are getting the cover they really need at a fair price. I am delighted to see the strong spirit of partnership with which we are working with BIBA to build the reputation of the industry and the trust of our customers."
Lord Hunt, BIBA Chairman, said:
"This landmark agreement demonstrates a clear commitment to vulnerable customers through the joint wishes of the members of BIBA and the ABI.
"Our members are well placed to advise customers about their options at renewal and to ensure they continue to be covered by appropriate insurance that meets their needs. The code embodies much of what our members and those of the ABI already do for their customers, but we believe that a published code will raise awareness of where customers can obtain additional support and advice when they need it and will also boost trust in the insurance sector. We warmly welcome the positive outcome of our working together on this matter."