The Central Bank has published its annual Consumer Protection Outlook Report which highlights the Central Bank’s consumer protection objectives and identifies key risks to these objectives. The consumer protection objectives set out in the report include: ensuring that management imbed a consumer-focused culture in their companies; assessing the effect on consumers of intermediary payment structures; increasing the frequency of on-site inspections of companies, in particular, small retail firms; and, as mentioned in the January edition of the Arthur Cox Insurance Regulatory Update, the carrying out of themed inspections of the sale of health insurance, structured investment products and the handling of insurance claims.

Included in the risks highlighted by the Central Bank is claims handling and settlement by insurance companies. General insurers currently face a number of challenges in relation to underwriting, claims and profitability. The Central Bank emphasised that any changes that insurers make to meet these challenges must not be at the expense of customer service. The report also identifies the following key risks facing consumers of financial services: the return of irresponsible lending; the use of new technologies to deliver services; the lack of a consumer focused culture in firms; and poor standards of service.

The document also sets out its priority themes under its 5C headings (consumer, culture, confidence, challenge and compliance).

A link to the report is here