On 5 April 2013, EIOPA launched a public consultation on draft Guidelines for complaints handling by insurance intermediaries (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines will be addressed to each Member State’s national competent authority responsible for supervising complaints handling by insurance intermediaries in their jurisdiction. The public consultation period will end on 28 June 2013.

The existing Insurance Mediation Directive provides that there must be suitable and effective complaint and redress procedures in each Member State in order to settle disputes between insurance intermediaries and customers. In this regard, EIOPA notes that in order to ensure that policyholders are adequately protected, the complaints handling arrangements of insurance intermediaries should be subject to a minimum level of supervisory convergence.

The Guidelines will be a follow-up to EIOPA’s guidelines on complaints handling by insurers, thereby seeking to ensure a “complete circle of protection” for policyholders. The Guidelines will lay down high level principles covering guidance on appropriate internal systems and control for complaints handling, the provision of information and procedures for responding to complaints.

Acknowledging the nature and size of insurance intermediaries, EIOPA endorses a proportionate approach to policyholder protection under the Guidelines. EIOPA aims to finalise the Guidelines by autumn 2013, after which time they will be subject to the “comply or explain” procedure.