On 11 August 2017, the EU Commission implemented Regulation (EU) 2017/1469 on standardized presentation format for the insurance product information document. The aim of the Regulation is “to provide customers with product information which is easy to read, understand and compare, a common design, structure and format should be used when presenting the information referred to in Article 20(8) of Directive (EU) 2016/97 in the standardised insurance product information document referred to in Article 20(5) of that Directive, including by way of the use of icons or symbols. Equally, information about add-ons and optional covers, if any, should not be preceded by ticks, crosses or exclamation marks and the information to be included in the insurance product information document should normally be set out on two sides of A4 paper, but should not in any event exceed three sides of A4 paper”.
The new rules implemented by the EU Commission are the result of a consumer survey conducted by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority in order to test standardised insurance product information document and a consultation with the local EU supervisory authorities.
The general objective of the Regulation is to require Insurers to provide customers with clear and easy to read insurance product information documents about non-life insurance products. In particular, the name of the non-life insurer and the Member State where the Insurer is registered (including the regulatory status and the authorization number), including the logo on the right of the title (art. 1) must be clearly stated. All the product information shall be contained at least in a two sides A4-sized paper or, at least, three pages, upon request by the competent authority (including the reasons why more space is needed) and with a remarkable font size (at least 1,2) (art. 2 – 3).
The presentation of the insurance product shall be made through the use of easy and understandable sequences of questions (what is this type of insurance, what is insured etc..) in plain language in order to facilitate the customer’s understanding (art. 4 – 5). Information on the main risks insured, geographical scope, excluded risks, main exclusions, obligation at the inception, during or when a claim is made, term of contract and means of terminating shall be visually represented through agreed icons.
The Italian Supervisory Authority (IVASS) has opened a public consultation on possible amendments to the ISVAP Regulation n. 35/2010 which sets out the complete regulation on the information obligations and the advertising of insurance products. The public consultation closed on 5 October, save for possible postponement (the original deadline of 30th September has already been adjourned). Also, the proposed amendments of the Regulation 35/2010 seem to be aimed at a simplification of the pre-contractual documents to be provided to the insured, based on the same principles of the EU 2017/1469 and as a consequence of the failure of the experience through the Information Dossier which was introduced on 2010 and for some reasons appeared to be more complex that the same insurance product attached.
In particular, the draft of the amended regulation provides for the replacement of the Summary Profile and the Information Note with a pre-contractual Informative Document (so called “DIP Documento Informativo precontrattuale”), which includes some of the information and provision under the EU 2017/1469 in a one page A4-size format.
Furthermore, the amended regulation under consultation also includes the possibility to add an “integrative pre-contratctual informative documents” (so called “DIP Aggiuntivo”) in order to better explain some further relevant details/terms of the insurance product.
At first sight the two regulations examined in this article have some areas of overlap. It will be necessary to examine the final version and verify the possible differences between the two regulations. In light of the above, at the moment, we can only highlight that European and Italian Institutions are focused on introducing a simplification of the pre-contractual information documents for non-life insurance, in order to better help consumers to have a clear and strong understanding of the insurance product which is in the process to underwrite. This is a clear principle under both the regulation in comment.
In view of the author, it is not clear whether such a simplification effort will really allow an increase of the awareness of the consumer before choosing an insurance product, because in many cases the non-life insurances are really complex, so that an excess in the simplification of the pre-contractual information could also lead to possible misunderstandings and thus mislead the consumer.
Last but not at least, on a public law point of view, it must be noted that both the regulations will be directly enforceable within Italy, so that it will be necessary to examine if the amended IVASS Regulation will introduce any additional requirements to those in the EU pre-contractual information document or provide for different rules, based on the assumption that, in any case, the regulation issued by IVASS appears to be a second level piece of law which could not overrule any primary level law (as the EU Regulation are).