Background to the issuing of the Polish regulator’s position

Based on the new regulation in the Polish insurance market that entered into force on 1 January 2016, the general terms and conditions of insurance (“GTC“) as well as other standard contracts must be published by insurers on their websites. The Polish regulator (“KNF“) noticed, however, that the fulfilment of this obligation differed among insurers. Consequently, the KNF noted the need to unify the practice in these terms and recently issued its position concerning insurance companies publishing their standard contracts on their websites. The document is available here in the Polish language version only.

The regulation’s aim

In the KNF’s opinion, the aim of the regulation is to ensure access to the standard contracts for interested parties which might include the policyholders, the insured, persons entitled from insurance contracts, beneficiaries, as well as injured parties. The Polish regulator also observes that the aforementioned access is of high importance not only at the phase of entering into an insurance contract.

Main points made by the Polish regulator

According to the KNF, the function of the regulation for insurance companies to publish their standard contracts on their websites clearly indicates the necessity for publishing these documents:

  • from the start date of the offer of a given insurance product;
  • in a place easily accessible to the average user of the website;
  • constantly on the insurer’s website (since there is no regulation in terms of the removal of the standard contracts).

Applicability

In Poland, the KNF’s positions are not recognized as generally binding sources of law. However, insurers conducting insurance activity in Poland monitor them for many reasons. In particular, certain official standpoints from the KNF can be treated as the KNF’s expectations towards the market and it can be observed that the Polish regulator is equipped with certain powers through which it can try to ensure compliance with these expectations.

The aforementioned KNF’s position is addressed to insurance companies without any distinction as to domestic insurers or foreign insurers operating in Poland, based on the freedom to provide services, or the freedom of establishment.

Moreover, the regulation that concerns the KNF’s position is included in the document of general good requirements – an indicative and auxiliary source of information of domestic regulations which should be followed by foreign insurers operating in Poland published by the Polish regulator.

Consequently, it could be expected that in the KNF’s opinion, the position also applies to foreign insurers from the European Union operating in Poland.