Congress recently passed a financial reform package that substantially affects the insurance sector. Among the changes, insureds will be able to access summary or executory trials for disputes regarding insurance coverage, provided that they first secure approval from the National Commission for the Protection and Defence of the Users of Financial Services (CONDUSEF).

The existing law allows insureds to request the assistance of CONDUSEF to settle disputes with insurers amicably. If the parties fail to settle, they may submit to an arbitration procedure conducted by CONDUSEF. If the parties do not agree to binding arbitration, the insured may request a formal opinion from CONDUSEF on the merits of the case. Such an opinion is not legally binding on the courts, but constitutes an important technical piece of evidence for court analysis.

The amendment to the Law on the Protection and Defence of Users of Financial Services will now allow such opinions to have a 'summary nature' where the alleged owed amount does not exceed certain thresholds. That is, CONDUSEF may – where it considers that there are sufficient elements in favour of the insured – issue an opinion that indicates the merits of the insured's claim. If the opinion indicates the contractual obligation that has been breached, as well as a certain liquid amount, the opinion will be considered an 'executory' (ie, enforceable) document against the insurer if the stated amount does not exceed 100,000 investment units (approximately $385,000), considering both principal and interest. That is, the insured will be able to request a court to seize the assets of the insurer to induce payment of the amount stipulated in the opinion, although the insurer will be able to challenge the amount stated in the opinion, submit evidence and defend itself.

These opinions may be issued only where the amount in question does not exceed 6 million investment units (approximately $2.3 million) and will have an executory nature only for the amount stipulated.

For further information on this topic please contact Carlos Ramos Miranda at Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0000), fax (+52 55 5091 0123) or email (crm@bstl.com.mx). The Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa SC website can be accessed at www.bstl.com.mx.