On 15 February, the Central Bank published its Consumer Protection Outlook Report, which sets out its consumer priorities for the year ahead. The Report aims to highlight a number of consumer risks that boards need to consider and the Central Bank emphasises the need for product providers to look at their consumer relationships through the lens of the consumer.

From an insurance perspective, the report confirms the Central Bank's plans to conduct thematic inspections in the following areas:

  • the sale of niche/add-on insurance;
  • insurance brokers' compliance with minimum standards; and
  • the role of insurance brokers acting as managerial agents on behalf of insurance companies.

The priorities that the Central Bank highlights include:

  • creating a consumer focused culture, where firms engage constructively with consumer queries and complaints;
  • ensuring that accurate product/ service information is provided and that key information is brought to the attention of consumers such as, the level of cover provided and the identity of the insurer where products are sold through an intermediary;
  • rigorous product testing, oversight and governance to ensure that products/ services are suitable and appropriate to consumers' risk appetite;
  • product oversight and governance processes as firms move towards providing advice online and ensuring that the needs of vulnerable consumers are being met if firms are using fintech delivery channels.
  • cyber security risks in the context of data protection;
  • maintaining customer service standards, notwithstanding the temptation to cut costs.

Following the pilot of the Consumer Protection Risk Assessment (CPRA) Model in 2016, the Central Bank will conduct a range of CPRAs in firms over the coming year and will publish details of CPRA Model by the end of March 2017.

A link to the Central Banks Consumer Protection Outlook Report is here.