FCA warns general insurance firms failing to clearly show last year’s insurance premium at renewal time

Of relevance to: All general insurance firms
Key date: Immediate action required

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has warned it will take action against general insurance firms which are failing to properly implement rules introduced to increase transparency and encourage shopping around at renewal time.

Rules introduced in April 2017 require firms to clearly show the insurance premium a customer paid last year alongside their proposed renewal premium.

They also require firms to show a prominent, clear and straightforward message to encourage customers to shop around. The FCA has found that firms are still failing to properly implement the rules despite warning in October about failings.

The RAC has become the latest firm to agree to contact affected customers after the FCA found that the firm was failing to display both the prior and current year premiums, and the shopping around message as key information in its breakdown policy renewal documentation.

Jonathan Davidson, Executive Director of Supervision – Retail and Authorisations at the FCA, said:

“It is simply unacceptable to see that some firms are still not being properly transparent with their customers a year on from the introduction of the rules. Firms failing to get this right may have led to consumers losing out as they do not have the right information to decide whether or not to shop around.
We have already acted where we have seen particularly poor practice in firms and will continue to do so where we see firms not being transparent. As we said in October, we expect other firms to take notice of these issues, to look at what they are doing and to make sure they are getting it right.”

The FCA outlined in October 2017 how general insurance firms were failing to meet the rules, highlighting four particular areas where it found firms were failing. These were:

  • failing to implement the new rules for all products and customers;
  • misstating the previous years’ premium;
  • leaving out the shopping around message or not presenting it in a way which draws the reader’s attention; and
  • firms failing to properly identify all customers who needed renewal information either because of a system error or a mistaken interpretation of the type of customer that is captured by the rules.

The FCA expects firms and senior management in affected firms to take immediate action to ensure they are compliant.