On 1 April 2014, the draft measure containing amendments to ISVAP (former Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority) regulation no. 24 dated 19 May 2008 on complaints handling was published on the IVASS website.
The accompanying report to the draft measure explains that the new provisions contained therein are necessary following the approval by EIOPA of its Guidelines on Complaints Handling by Insurance Undertakings.
Based upon those guidelines, national supervisory authorities are required to ensure compliance by insurance undertakings with seven principles, namely:
- definition of a complaints management policy;
- institution of a complaints management function;
- appropriate registration of complaints received;
- reporting to the supervisory authority;
- analysis of data on complaints, with a view to identifying and solving recurring or systemic problems;
- adequate information to consumers (for example, by publishing in brochures or on websites the description of the complaints-handling process) and individual complainants (for example, by offering them the possibility of contacting alternative dispute resolution organisations or the supervisory authority, in addition to the courts, where the complaint is rejected);
- definition of an adequate procedure to ensure that responses to complaints are provided in accordance with criteria of validity of the information gathered, that it is communicated in plain language and in compliance with the set time limits, and that a thorough explanation of the insurance intermediary’s position is provided.
The main changes introduced by the draft measure in question are as follows:
- the definition of “complaint” has been altered in order to clarify that simple requests for information or requests for contract implementation or damage compensation do not constitute complaints;
- the scope of application of the Regulation has been extended to EU insurance undertakings operating in Italy on a permanent basis and by way of freedom to provide services;
- the following further obligations have been introduced:
- the definition of the complaints handling policy – to be regularly reviewed by the administrative body – based upon the fair treatment of policyholders, beneficiaries and injured parties;
- the adoption of procedures that allow for the identification of business products and processes most affected by complaints as well as identification of the causes at the root of those complaints, also with a view to checking that they do not impact upon other business products or processes;
- the adoption of the necessary corrective actions in the case of criticalities;
- the periodic report on complaints handling prepared by Internal Auditing – to be submitted to the administrative body of the company and to be sent periodically to IVASS – must contain an analysis of the issues that have given rise to complaints and the proposal of corrective actions;
- the language used by undertakings in communications with the complainant must be plain and easily understandable. Where the complaint is not accepted or is only partially accepted, the undertaking must provide a thorough explanation of its position, providing information in relation to the possibility of contacting IVASS or alternative dispute resolution systems, as well as the judicial authority.
Any observations, comments and proposals may be sent to IVASS by 30 April 2014.