On 3 May 2012, the Italian regulator ISVAP issued Regulation n.40, which regulates the sale of life insurance contracts linked to consumer credit contracts. The new regulation will come into force on 1 July 2012.
As of 1 July 2012, before issuing any consumer credit contract (e.g. a mortgage) which requires the consumer to take out a life-insurance policy, banks and other financial intermediaries must provide the consumer with at least two quotations from two different insurance providers. These insurance providers must not be linked to the bank or financial intermediary providing the consumer credit contract.
Regulation n.40 sets out the minimum requirements for any life insurance policy which is linked to a consumer credit contract. This is to enable the consumer to make an informed choice. The consumer will also have the right to choose any alternative life insurance policy available directly on the market. Upon the receipt of the quotations, the consumer is allowed a minimum of 10 working days, to identify a different and possibly more convenient life-insurance policy with the same minimum terms and conditions. Insurance providers must also provide a free online service, allowing consumers to find and compare polices and detail the terms and conditions of the life insurance polices that they are offering. The website URLs for these online services will have to be provided to the regulator ISVAP.
The introduction of Regulation n.40 is clearly linked to the rapid development of the consumer credit market, and ISVAP’s desire to ensure proper regulation of insurance products. However, Regulation n.40 will have a significant impact on insurance providers, banks and financial intermediaries given the short period of time in which they will have to reorganise the way life insurance polices are marketed and sold.
For example, from the 1 July 2012:
- insurance companies which market life insurance polices, must re-draft their polices in line with the Regulation’s minimum terms and conditions, and circulate these new polices to the banks and financial intermediaries. They must also provide ISVAP with the website URLs which carry details of these re-drafted polices. Insurance companies will, however, be given until 1 September 2012 to set up the free online quotation services; and
- each bank and financial intermediary must have in place at least two agreements with two different insurance providers relating to the provision and marketing life insurance policies linked their consumer credit contracts. They must then provide consumers with quotations, life insurance policies and all other relevant documentation in compliance with Regulation n.40.