The Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 (the Act) aimed to improve the transparency of policy wordings and insurer procedures and strengthen your consumer rights.
The Act was signed on 26th December 2019. Certain sections of the Act were enacted on 1st September 2020, with further sections coming into effect on 1st September 2021.
At Liberty Insurance, we are committed to ensuring you have all the information you need before and after taking out a policy with us. We continue to provide our systems, policies and procedures are updated to comply with this legislation.
In September 2020, as part of CICA phase one, we introduced positive changes in how we operate and serve you as our customer, for example:
Short period cancellation rates were abolished;
Policy booklets were updated in line with this legislation;
Our claims handling procedures underwent some changes;
Before and after-sales information was enhanced.
Main Act’s sections enacted in September 2020
The principle of insurable interest was enhanced, meaning that we, as your insurer, cannot refuse liability by reason only that the name of the person who may benefit under the policy is unspecified in the policy document (section 7);
The introduction of a cooling-off period of 14 working days, together with additional cancellation rights for you, the customer (sections 11 & 13);
Creating post-contractual duties for the customer and insurer is no longer valid. "utmost good faith" principle (section 15);
Insurers are under a duty to handle claims promptly and fairly, notify customers of a third-party claim (if not made by the customer) as soon as possible and inform customers when a claim is settled or closed (sections 16-19);
Changes to the insurers' right to subrogation for any claim extend third-party rights. This includes the right of a third party to pursue an insurer directly via legal proceedings (sections 21-25).
On 1st September 2021, phase two of the CICA requirements came into effect. What has changed?
Customers will have a statutory obligation to answer all questions asked by the insurer 'honestly and with reasonable care. This is a new requirement on customers and replaces the duty of 'utmost good faith, which is a lower standard of duty (section 8);
Insurers will have limited remedies available to them to cancel an insurance policy for non-disclosure (section 8);
Insurers must provide customers with information, on paper or another durable medium, before taking out or renewing a policy;
The questions that insure ask must be specific, in plain and intelligible language, and assumptions are no longer allowed. Insures must inform customers, in general terms of the nature and effect of their pre-contractual duty of disclosure (section 8);
Insurers will have proportionate remedies available for misrepresentation by the customer (section 9);
Insurers will have additional duties at renewal and must provide customers with a schedule of all premiums and claims paid for the preceding five years. (section 12);
At renewal, unless the insurer asks customer-specific questions, it is taken that the information previously provided still applies, and the customer continues to pay the renewal (section 14 (1) – (5)).