The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act was given Royal Assent on 8th March 2012 and came into force on 6th April 2013.
What does it do?
Theoretically it is supposed to give Consumers a better chance of their Insurance Company paying out when a claimis made rather than trying to rely on a spurious reason to refuse to pay.
It removes the duty on the Consumer to volunteer facts that an Insurer might consider “material” (important) when they decide whether to offer insurance.
What will happen instead is that Consumers must take “reasonable care” to answer questions asked by insurers at the outset but conversely the questions asked by Insurers must be clear and specific.
This will undoubtedly result in Consumers being asked a significant number of extra questions at the outset and having to give detailed replies. Insurers will no doubt operate a “no stone unturned” policy so that if a Consumer does at some point want to make a claim the Insurer has more information to wriggle free and avoid paying out if they can. Cynical?
What is the effect on Insurers?
Insurers will have to review all customer contact including:
online proposal forms
offline proposal forms
The Insurers must:
Ask the Consumer clear questions
Remove reference to the duty of disclosure of material facts
MoneySavingExpert.com head of editorial, Dan Plant said:
“These common sense changes are long overdue. They should put a stop for good to the horror stories of genuine insurance claims being turned down because the customer didn’t declare a fact that seems totally unrelated. For example, in the past, a critical illness policy failed to pay out for leukaemia, because the woman involved didn’t tell her insurer about an unconnected ear infection. We’re delighted to see the back of such nonsense.”
What Do The Specialists Say?
David Healey from Carter & Carter Solicitors in Stockport commented earlier:
“Sadly, Insurers have a reputation of trying to wriggle free from paying out on insurance claims, mainly in relation to Critical Illness cover. When a Consumer is at their lowest due to illness they need to know that the insurance policy they have taken out will actually kick in likewise when they have a car accident and need to make a claim. Hopefully this new Act will help Consumers although it will undoubtedly result in Insurers asking every question they can possibly think of before they offer cover. Only time will tell.”