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What does it mean?
What are the challenges?
How to make it work?
How do we contribute?
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What does consumer empowerment in insurance mean in practice?

Consumers are necessarily at the heart of the insurance business. Meeting consumers’ expectations and needs is essential to the success of the insurance industry. Insurers are constantly piecing together the puzzle of how to best achieve this and ensure that consumers are properly informed, have access to a range wide of innovative products that meet their needs and are treated fairly. 

 

 

Transparency

Simple, clear and relevant information, so consumers can compare products effectively

 

Insight briefing: Better, not more, information for consumers

 

 

Education

Educational tools so consumers acquire the knowledge and skills they need to make informed insurance decisions

 

Publication: Financial education in a digital age Financial literacy page

 

 

 

Choice

A variety of good quality, innovative and competitive products, services and distribution channels, so consumers can choose the product that best fits their needs

 

Insight briefing: Supporting innovation in insurance in a digital age

 

 

Fair treatment

Insurers should act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of their customers

 

Insurance distribution page 

What are the challenges?

There are a number of challenges to creating the right EU rules to protect consumers. First and foremost, rules have to made properly and introduced in the right way, so that the changes they introduce actually benefit consumers. It is also important that new rules do not duplicate the many requirements that already exist. And any new rules need to reflect the latest innovations and be able to cope with future developments. There is still work to be done to ensure that EU rules are fit for purpose and provide the best result for consumers.

Information overload
 

Insurance Europe supports effective EU consumer protection rules that enable individuals to compare products and make informed decisions. To achieve this, rules must be consistent, coherent and well-designed. Overloading people with information could simply confuse them, leading to ill-informed decisions and potentially, when a claim comes, unhappy consumers.

Despite being well-intended, there is a risk that new EU rules such as the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs) Regulation and the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) will not actually benefit consumers. Why? Because each proposal was developed on its own, without enough attention being paid to the effect of the rules when they are combined. This is a problem because many insurance sales processes require many different rules to be applied at once. Also, the PRIIPs and IDD rules are outdated even before they come into force, because they do not take account of the fact that many people now buy insurance online.

Find out more:

  

 
Challenging timelines
 

The Lisbon Treaty established a multi-layer regulatory process for EU financial regulation, consisting of 4 different levels:

  • Level 1: An EU directive or regulation proposed by the European Commission and adopted by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament.
  • Level 2: At Level 1, provisions can be made for additional measures for the implementation of level 1 legislation. These are called Delegated Acts or Implementing Acts. This secondary legislation is drafted and adopted by the Commission, often on the advice of the relevant European supervisory authority (ESA), with oversight by the Council and Parliament in some cases.
  • Level 3: The European supervisory authorities ensure that EU member states and national supervisory authorities consistently implement EU legislation. The ESAs guidance is mostly used on a “comply or explain” basis by national supervisors.
  • Level 4: Supervision and enforcement.

Traditionally, there has been two years to implement new rules after the Level 1 texts are published. However, since the Lisbon Treaty, Level 2 measures are now developed during this two-year period. As national supervisory authorities and the industry need the Level 2 measures fully finalised before they implement them, this significantly reduces the implementation time. In an extreme case, such as Solvency II, parts of the final texts were not even known at the time of application.

Such timeframes put considerable pressure on the European supervisory authorities (ESAs) and the European Commission when developing Level 2 measures. The result is measures that are rushed, at the expense of their quality and undertaking full impact assessments. Quality must come before speed.

Take the development of the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) for the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs) Regulation. The work was rushed, resulting in the ESAs submitting a flawed text that was rejected by the European Parliament. This left the European institutions no other choice than to delay the application date of the Regulation to allow more time to develop and implement the RTS.

The Level 2 measures for the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) have also given cause for concern. The IDD entered into force in February 2016 and the focus since then has been on developing the Level 2 measures. However, the fact that the final delegated acts were only delivered by the Commission to the Parliament and Council on 21 September 2017 has created serious challenges for industry, given that the deadline for member states to enact the IDD is 23 February 2018. A delay in the application of the IDD is therefore crucial to allow sufficient time to implement the new requirements.

Find out more:

 
Future-proof regulation
 

Consumer protection rules must reflect the evolving demands of consumers and keep up with the technological developments that consumers want to use. To achieve this, policymakers should focus on the real — rather than imagined — needs of consumers in the digital age. Many consumers now like to buy insurance online, where they expect the process to be simple and fast. The current rules must respond to the increasing demand for and use of online services.

There are several checks that should take place to ensure that new legislation is future-proof and technologically neutral. These would help to prevent legislation quickly becoming out-dated in an era of digitalisation. Any new legislation, rules or guidelines that govern the sales of insurance products to consumers should:

  • be digital-friendly and appropriately designed, to allow both consumers and industry to benefit from the opportunities digitalisation offers; and
  • be technologically neutral and sufficiently future-proof to be fit for the digital age.

Find out more:

Digitalisation page

 
Financial literacy
 

Financial literacy is a core life skill that must be nurtured as early as possible to encourage responsible financial behaviour and to give people the confidence to take control of their finances. Improving the level of financial literacy in Europe is an important societal challenge that requires contributions from a wide range of stakeholders.

Research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on financial literacy in 2016, shows the extent of this challenge:

  • over 80% of European citizens had chosen financial products without shopping around and without using independent information or advice
  • over 40% of respondents in European countries had not even gathered information before choosing financial products
  • large numbers of people lack awareness of the importance of savings and setting long-term financial goals

This is alarming, since the number of people aged 65 or above relative to those aged 15 to 64 is expected to double in Europe between 2013 and 2060 according to the European Commission 2015 Ageing Report. With individual responsibility becoming ever more vital, public awareness of the need to make adequate provision for retirement must be raised.

The European insurance industry is engaged in numerous initiatives across Europe to increase financial literacy and the understanding of insurance in all sectors of society, ranging from young children in schools to adults and professionals in the workplace, reflecting the industry’s belief that financial education should be a lifelong process. Insurance Europe urges EU policymakers and regulators to play a greater role in supporting the implementation of national strategies for financial education.

Find out more:

Publication: Financial education in a digital age Policy recommendations 

Publication: A Blueprint for Pensions Financial literacy page

Consumer-centric insurance regulation

The key to striking the right balance and ensuring that rules deliver the best results for consumers is to put the real impact on the consumer front and centre when new EU rules are being developed. Any regulation must be properly tested, checked against existing rules and costed.

 

Analyse the consumer costs/benefits

Measure both the direct and indirect impact that any individual proposal would have on the everyday life of consumers

 

 

 

Consider the cumulative impact of regulation

Assess the impact on consumers of the proposal when it is combined with other existing or proposed rules

 


 

 

Decide whether to take EU action

Check whether the EU is the most appropriate place to take action, given the many
different needs of consumers across the EU. Also make sure that changing the rules brings more benefits than keeping things as they are. Constant changes to rules may confuse consumers about disclosures and their rights.

 

 

 

Ensure technological neutrality

Make sure that the proposal is future-proof and technologically neutral

  

 

 

 

Submit for consumer testing

Proper consumer testing to ensure that the proposal benefits consumers in practice. This would ensure that new rules match their real, rather than imagined, needs.

 

 

 

Infographic: Consumer-centric regulation Insight briefing: Better, not more,information for consumers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Innovative products and services
    •  
      Belgium
      • In 2011 a voluntary moratorium on the distribution of particularly complex structured products was agreed between the insurance and banking industries, and the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA). Under the terms of the moratorium, distributors of structured products said they would not distribute products that are considered particularly complex, based on a test proposed by the FSMA. More information is available here.
    •  
      Czech Republic
      • Insurers in the Czech Republic offer to install various telematics devices to enable customers to benefit from assistance services, pay-as-you-drive policies or the tracing of stolen vehicles.
      • Insurers in the Czech Republic offer a range of innovative products which cover risks associated with various lifestyle diseases and that provide insured people with additional income to that provided by public social security schemes. Some insurance products are also components of preventive programs organised by insurers (eg in the prevention of breast cancer).
    •  
      Denmark
      • Several new hybrid life insurance products have been developed in recent years that combine a higher degree of freedom of investment — and therefore a higher expected return — on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a minimum level of certainty and predictability of future pension benefits as requested by customers that are a member of the scheme.
    •  
      Finland
      • The creation of four new private hospitals by the OP Financial Group in Finland, which have expanded into new fields of specialised medicine and occupational health, mean that health insurance clients will receive a much quicker service. Clients from other insurance companies will also be able to receive treatment at these hospitals. More information on this initiative can be found here.
      • In 2014, the Finnish insurance company, LähiTapiola, established a service called “TerveysHelppi” (HealthHelp), which is a call centre where insurance clients can receive free advice from health professionals (eg nurses etc). The call centre provides them with advice on what kind of treatment they need, what is the basic coverage of the insurance and where to treat their problems (in which doctor/health center). 
      • LähiTapiola ran a six month pilot with a new health insurance product, called “intelligent life insurance”, where the customer received a fitness tracker, an online health check and health-related information from different digital sources. The pilot ran from June 2015 until the end of 2015. The aim of the pilot was to bring benefits to customers by encouraging healthy lifestyle, preventing illnesses in good time and providing more information about health-related matters. LähiTapiola will only use the information it receives from the fitness tracker in an aggregated form.
    •  
      France
      • In France "Eurocroissance" funds, which were created by the 2013 Finance Act, aim to integrate new funds into existing life insurance contracts in order to offer an interesting alternative to euro funds and unit-linked funds. "Eurocroissance" offers a guarantee of the amount invested in the fund at least equal to 100% at a given horizon of at least eight years. This initiative aims to promote the contribution of life insurance in financing the economy, as it allows "for greater financing of businesses than the traditional Euro funds", and provides consumers with a return of the initial amount invested under requested conditions fulfilled, therefore providing the option to improve returns whilst limiting risk.
      • In France the Garantie des Accidents de la Vie (GAV) label is used for insurance policies that provide cover against serious accidents. Policies with this label provide minimum guaranties that include quick claims management and minimum compensation in the event of serious injury as a result of an accident.
      • In France the "Garantie Assurance Dépendance" (GAD) label means that insurers cannot request medical formalities before the age of 50, and that a guaranteed annuity, and assistance services are provided.
      • For at least 10-15 years in optics, and 5-8 years in dental and hearing aids, healthcare networks have been put in place by French complementary insurance professionals and bodies. These include commitments on prices, which limits the costs to be borne by the insured.
    •  
      Germany
      • In 2016 the GDV launched the Unfallmeldedienst to ensure that, in case of an accident, help arrives as soon as possible, especially in rural areas. When an accident occurs, it activates a smartphone app which automatically sends out the vehicle’s current position and a report on the severity of the crash to an emergency call centre. At the same time, it establishes a voice link between the car and a staff member at the centre. The biggest advantage of the system is that, unlike the eCall emergency call system which has to be installed in new cars starting in 2018, this accident reporting service can be added in almost any car. The only thing the car must be equipped with is a 12-Volt outlet, (a cigarette lighter socket).
      • The GDV has developed and implemented, together with its members, a voluntary transfer agreement for funded occupational pensions (Übertragungsabkommen, update 2010). The agreement has proven successfully in practice.
      • In 2009 the German insurers founded an umbrella institution for occupational retirement provision, called Versorgungsausgleichskasse, for taking over some pension products in case of splitting of entitlements to provision for old age and disability (pension rights adjustment, Versorgungsausgleich), acquired during marriage.
    •  
      Hungary
      • In Hungary standardised General Terms of Agreement structures for household insurance products were developed in 2013, and have been adopted by several insurance companies. Their aim is to make various insurance products comparable and transparent for consumers.
    •  
      Ireland
      • Health insurers in Ireland have created apps aimed at providing education and guidance in creating a healthier lifestyle for policyholders. Through the use of other platforms such as Skype, some Irish insurance providers offer free medical consultations by a general practitioner as a policy benefit, which is beneficial to rural policyholders.
    •  
      Italy
      • In Italy black boxes systems, which are increasingly embedded in motor vehicles by insurance companies, provide consumers with access to specific motor third-party liability (MTPL), as well as other services. For instance, at the end of 2014, the number of vehicles with on board operative black boxes was more than 3 million.
      • In 2015, new house insurance products were introduced to the Italian market. These products do not only provide protection against damages to houses, but they also come with a device that can be installed in the house to prevent damages. This device can detect gas, smoke or water leaks, the loss of electricity and acts of theft or burglary, by means of sensors. It allows consumers to monitor the risks remotely and it is also connected 24/7 to an operation centre for immediate emergency calls.
      • The Italian market has also seen the introduction of health insurance products linked to smartphones and other devices. The devices collect data on physiological parameters or parameters related lifestyle, including the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, weight, blood glucose levels, exercise and the hours of sleep. These devices help the consumer to take care of their own wellbeing and to possibly receive a premium discount when they renew their insurance policy.
    •  
      Malta
      • The Maltese Market has seen a gradual introduction of telematics aimed at ensuring "responsible and careful" driving by younger drivers.
    •  
      Netherlands
      • Dutch insurers have developed a "quality mark". This quality mark is maintained and developed by an independent foundation. Insurers seeking this quality mark need to comply with very high standards of internal processes, customer communication and response times to calls/emails etc. About 50 of the 200+ insurers in the Netherlands currently have this quality mark.
    •  
      Sweden
      • Swedish occupational pension defined contribution (DC) schemes are normally member-directed. Designated providers under collectively agreed schemes (covering approx. 90% of the Swedish workforce) have to offer products that fulfil certain criteria stipulated by the social partners. The products can be unit-linked insurance or traditional life insurance, or a combination of products, and may therefore include risk-sharing and a guarantee. This means that, and in spite of the fact that the scheme is DC, that the designated providers under the schemes may take over risk from the employee as a result of product design.
    •  
      United Kingdom
      • Telematics and the use of data by insurers is growing in the UK. It is used to both bring down costs for consumers and to increase transparency.
      • The government introduced a new law in 2012 to help people save more for their retirement. It requires every employer to automatically enrol their employees into a workplace pension and gives more flexibility in the retirement options for UK defined contribution (DC) pension scheme members. Following the introduction of the law, insurers are going beyond what is required in order to allow customers to take cash lump sums, and are also offering products that combine both flexibility and security. More information can be found here.
      • Innovation in the UK retirement market has made products more personalised. The enhanced annuity market has grown substantially, using medical and lifestyle underwriting to allow people with a shorter life expectancy to secure a higher income. In addition, products have been developed, especially since the pension flexibility changes in April 2015, to allow people to keep their pension invested and draw an income flexibly, while also guaranteeing some or all of their income or the amount invested.
  • Digitalisation
    •  
      Belgium
      • In Belgium an interactive application was created in November 2014 to assist victims of physical injury in receiving compensation. More information can be found here.
      • The DB2P database provides information on occupational pension arrangements in Belgium. As of 2016, members of the occupational pension will also be able to learn about their individual pension rights from this database. More information can be accessed here.
      • In 2015, Belgian insurers and pharmacists launched the “AssurPharma” project, which facilitates the (additional) compensation of medication by private medical insurers. Thanks to “AssurPharma”, consumers no longer have to send their insurer a paper certificate that is filled in by the pharmacist. Instead, the certificate is sent digitally and securely from the pharmacy where the medication is purchased to the insurer. This significantly reduces the administrative burden on consumers. More information can be found here.
      • The Belgian insurance association, Assuralia, has further developed the consumer website “ABCAssurance”. This website provides consumers with information on prevention, insurance contracts and claims handling. It also features different brochures and checklists that explain consumers step-by-step what to do in a particular situation. One of these brochures focuses on helping consumers to keep their insurance policies up to date.
    •  
      Czech Republic
      • Czech insurers provide various mobile phone applications with various educative or preventive functions to help customers minimise losses. For example, some applications alert users to incoming bad weather so that they can prevent damage to their property. Other alert users to the fact that they are crossing the border of the country, so they should consider taking out travel insurance. Other applications allow users to take out insurance or to make a claim.
      • Czech insurers offer policyholders online electronic access to their insurance contracts, and some have begun to use a biometric signature.
    •  
      Denmark
      • The Danish Insurance Association developed the Forsikringsguiden (Insurance Guide) website in 2016 in cooperation with consumer organisation Tænk. It helps consumers to choose the right insurance policy by providing them with a quick and easy comparison of insurance conditions and prices for the most common types of insurance. The website also aims to create transparency in the insurance market. 23 companies participate in the Forsikringsguiden, representing more than 90% of the Danish market. Once the consumer has completed the comparison, the site can guide the consumer directly to their preferred insurance company.
      • "PensionsInfo", which was first launched in 1999, is a comprehensive tracking tool allowing each Dane to access an overview of their entire pension entitlements in pillars 1, 2 and 3. Thanks to this service, pension providers can also flag dormant pension rights to the individual and prompt them to check whether it would be profitable to transfer the pot to a new scheme. The tool also presents related insurance covers.
      • "Fakta om pension" is a Danish web portal showing comparable information on costs, returns, level of service and advice for all pension companies. In 2015, a new version was launched, which improved usability and includes new information on net return and fees.
      • The "Pensionsmåler" tool” allows the consumer to calculate in a few easy steps how large their pension payments will be in relation to their present salary payments. This allows the “Pensionsmåler” to calculate the consumers’ future compensation rate and the effect that extra contributions to the scheme would have on their future compensation rate.
      • "The cost initiative" (2007-2010) means that each Danish pension company provides a calculation tool on its website showing the total costs that are to be expected when joining a particular pension scheme.
      • An electronic-based system to allow customers to change insurer was set up by the Danish Insurance Association 15 years ago and is continuously being improved. This system supports the smooth and efficient handling of customers’ change of insurance company.
      • The digitalised registration of new cars in Denmark, including third part liability insurance, began in 2012.
      • Has concluded a partnership with the Danish Road Safety Council in 2015. The goal of this partnership is to minimise damage and traffic accidents during working hours, as 30% of all work-related fatalities occur in traffic according to the Danish Working Environment Authority. Therefore, awareness of road safety principles was raised with the top management of Danish insurance companies, so that these principles are subsequently embedded in the company’s strategy and daily practice. The partnership has already contributed to the development of online tools that businesses can use for free to work towards a safer workplace.
      • The Danish Insurance Association has developed a mobile phone app that warns consumers about heavy rain and storms. Consumers can register any postal address, for example the address of their house or summer cottage, and get a warning on their mobile phone if and when bad weather is forecasted for that area. The aim is to limit the amount of weather-related damages by warning consumers of bad weather in time for them to make the necessary arrangements.
    •  
      Finland
      • In Finland the amount of claims made online has risen from 32% in 2010 to 58% in 2014, which shows the tendency of insurance companies to offer an increasing number of different digital and innovative services for their clients including in the field of claims management.
    •  
      France
      • Five million paper motor accident reports are handled by French insurers each year. To make it easier for policyholders to report a motor accident, French insurers launched an official free mobile phone application on 1 December 2014. This application allows policyholders to report their motor accidents directly to their insurers from a smartphone. The application can also speed up the processing and settlement of claims. More information is available here.
      • French insurance companies have been developing mobile applications to stay in contact with their customers 24/7 to complement the other channels already available (such as agents, call centres and websites). These applications aim to:
        - simplify consumers’ daily management of their insurance contracts (by providing an overview their insurance contracts and allowing them to monitor payments and refunds);
        - provide permanent access to relevant information (for example, in case of emergency, when they need support, to access insurance company contacts or to download certificates);
        - make claims handling easier (by allowing consumers to report their claims online and by informing consumers through geolocation — pinpointing the place where the damage occurred — where the closest partners are in order to benefit from negotiated advantages).
      • French insurance companies have also released smartphone applications in 2015 that analyse driving behaviour in real time, not only as a key tool for usage-based motor insurance, but also as an important tool for raising the road safety awareness of drivers. These applications gather information about driving behaviour, so that this can be analysed so that consumers can be offered an insurance premium based on how they drive. The use of these applications is expected to boost safe driving, resulting in less insurance claims and safer roads.
    •  
      Germany
      • The Trusted German Insurance Cloud (TGIC) is a secure cloud infrastructure for the insurance industry and its communication partners and customers. It is the first cloud solution in Germany certified by the Federal Office for Information Security. With standardised authentication mechanisms and a strong data encryption TGIC provides a secure communication platform for the insurance industry.
    •  
      Hungary
      • Since 2010, the Hungarian association has operated a motor third-party liability (MTPL) aggregator website ("Díjnavigátor"), which allows customers to calculate and compare the MTPL premiums of all insurance companies in a transparent way.
      • The internet-based tool “Asset Fund Analyst” facilitates the comparison of the performance of the underlying asset funds of popular unit-linked products.
    •  
      Ireland
      • The use of geo-coding/geo-location technology is widely used by Irish insurers along with their individual claims experience to analyse risk in providing household insurance. The use of such technology has allowed insurers identify a person’s home to their exact address and provide a quotation for the person’s home instead of just the wider area they live in. By assessing a risk at a property level, insurers have the ability to underwrite business they may have previously declined. There is a very high penetration rate for flood insurance in Ireland when compared with other European countries, with 98% of household policies in Ireland providing flood cover.
      • Insurance Ireland has convened an innovation taskforce focused on the customer experience under the headings of simplification, education, industry perception and radical/game changing. This work is being supported by collaborations with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and CeADAR, the University College Dublin Centre for Applied Data Analytics, to support the application of technology, including blockchain, in member companies for the benefit of customers.
    •  
      Italy
      • In Italy a process to replace paper insurance windshield stickers with an electronic alternative is currently underway.
      • The ANIA Foundation for Road Safety’s"Black Point" project addresses the fact that accidents in Italy are often caused by the presence of construction/maintenance faults in existing infrastructure. The project aims to provide information on the role of such faults in road accidents, allowing for a more thorough analysis of the phenomenon to be made.
      • ANIA, the Italian Insurance Association, has published a calculator estimating pensions and complementary pension schemes in Italy on its website. More information is available here.
      • ANIA has set up an an ad hoc IT application for representatives of consumer associations in the context of the Italian conciliation procedure. The application allows them to directly get in touch with the right person within insurance companies to discuss the cases filed by customers following a car accident to the consumer associations. In 2015, a new section was added to the application that is available to the general public. It provides information on how the conciliation procedure works, and allows consumers to send online conciliation requests to the consumer association of their choosing.
    •  
      Norway
      • In 2008 the Norwegian government allocated funds so that the Norwegian Consumer Council could start developing a price comparison portal for insurance. Both insurance companies and Finance Norway have since been active partners in developing this portal.
      • The www.norskpensjon.no website allows Norwegian citizens to calculate their pension income.
    •  
      Spain
      • A new mobile application for motor insurance policyholders called Sistema de Declaración de Accidentes para Smartphone (IDEA) was developed in 2015. The app allows policyholders to send the necessary information to their insurer for the settlement of a claim concerning a road accident between two vehicles. The app is linked to CICOS, the system that manages the direct claims settlement system for motor third-party liability insurance in Spain. From July 2016 onwards, every MTPL insurer in Spain must join this system by law. Since its launch in September 2015, the app has already been downloaded over 48,000 times and more than 1,100 claims have been filed through the app. In 86% of the cases the liable driver has recognised their liability and the non-liable driver has been compensated.
      • Following the passing of the new Law for the assessment of personal injuries due to road accidents (called “Baremo”), the insurance sector developed a new “Baremo” mobile application in 2016. This mobile application makes it easier for judges, public prosecutors, doctors, forensic surgeons, claims handlers, victims of accidents and insureds to assess injuries suffered by a victim of a road accident, according to the circumstances set out in the law.
    •  
      Sweden
      • In 2014, the Swedish insurance association launched the microsite "Ersättningskollen", where consumers can access standardised information on the total compensation paid in case of sickness, an accident or occupational injuries.
      • The Swedish pension tracking system, Min Pension ("My Pension"), was established in 2004. On the website, consumers get a full picture of their total pension rights and savings in all three pillars, and can also receive a free estimate of their total future pension.
      • The Konsumenternas Försäkringsbyrå (KFB) website, which is backed by the Swedish Consumer Agency, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and Insurance Sweden, offers independent comparisons of insurance products, including a grading of the products. In the Pensionsguiden section of the website, consumers can now also compare the costs of different products offered by the designated providers under the major collectively agreed occupational pension DC schemes. This new service was launched in June 2016 and the KFB plans to develop it further to include all forms of life insurance saving.
      • “Fullmaktskollen.se” is a service for managing the powers of attorney (a legal authorisation to represent or act on another's behalf) relating to pensions and life assurance policies. The service was launched in June 2016 and is provided free of charge to individuals and employers. It is financed by fees paid by Swedish insurers that connect to the system. The website/company is jointly owned by Insurance Sweden and the Swedish Insurance Brokers' Association. The Swedish Pensions Agency has participated in the work of setting up the service and has provided the first financing.
  • Enhanced claims management
    •  
      Belgium
      • Standard claims management documents were developed in 2013 and include all the information that Belgian insurers need to manage claims emanating from physical injuries. An interactive version is also under development. More information is available here. More information available here.
      • Belgian insurers have reached an agreement which accelerates the compensation of an innocent victim. This agreement has been in place for many years in Belgium, but recently the agreement has been extended to innocent victims – regardless of the branch of insurance involved.
      • In 2013 a "tour de garde" was organised between assistance insurers to help the processing of claims involving Belgian citizens abroad.
      • In 2008 the Belgian government developed, in close collaboration with the insurance industry, a legal framework regarding dormant life insurance assets. This obliges insurance companies to actively search for the beneficiaries of dormant life insurance contracts. More information can be accessed here.
      • In Belgium an interactive application was created in November 2014 to assist victims of physical injury in receiving compensation. More information can be found here.
      • In 2015, Belgian insurers and pharmacists launched the “AssurPharma” project, which facilitates the (additional) compensation of medication by private medical insurers. Thanks to “AssurPharma”, consumers no longer have to send their insurer a paper certificate that is filled in by the pharmacist. Instead, the certificate is sent digitally and securely from the pharmacy where the medication is purchased to the insurer. This significantly reduces the administrative burden on consumers. More information can be found here.
    •  
      Czech Republic
      • In the Czech Republic insurers offer motor third party liability (MTPL) insurance policies which allow a policyholder who suffers an injury during a car accident to submit the claim to their MTPL insurer who settles the claim directly. Compensation is provided and recourses for its expenses from the MTPL insurer of the party at-fault are undertaken in a second stage.
      • Czech insurers provide various mobile phone applications with various educative or preventive functions to help customers minimise losses. For example, some applications alert users to coming bad weather so that they can prevent damage to their property. Other alert users to the fact that they are crossing the border of the country, so they should consider taking out travel insurance. Other applications allow users to take out insurance or to make a claim.
    •  
      Denmark
      • In 2014 a new prompting solution was introduced for employees on sick leave in Denmark. This consists of a letter from the authorities inviting policyholders to contact their pension or insurance company to collect benefits or receive services aimed at rehabilitation. The initiative builds on a prompting solution that was developed in 2010, which encourages insurance costumers that are diagnosed with a critical illness to contact their pension company to make a claim.
    •  
      Estonia
      • On 1 January 2015 direct settlement of motor third-party liability (MTPL) insurance was introduced in Estonia. Currently about 30% claims are handled by consumers’ own insurers.
    •  
      Finland
      • In Finland the amount of claims made online has risen from 32% in 2010 to 58% in 2014, which shows the tendency of insurance companies to offer an increasing number of different digital and innovative services for their clients including in the field of claims management.
    •  
      France
      • Five million paper motor accident reports are handled by French insurers each year. To make it easier for policyholders to report a motor accident, French insurers launched an official free mobile phone application on 1 December 2014. This application allows policyholders to report their motor accidents directly to their insurers from a smartphone. The application can also speed up the processing and settlement of claims. More information is available here.
      • Insurance companies that are members of the French Association of Insurance (AFA) which gathers the French Federation Insurance Companies (FFSA) and the French Association of Mutual Insurers (GEMA), commit themselves to join to the association of Insurance Mediation (Association “La Mediation de l’Assurance”), and to respect the terms of its charter. This association offers consumers a free alternative dispute resolution mechanism for out-of-court settlements between individuals and insurance companies or intermediaries, in cases arising from the enforcement or the interpretation of insurance contracts.
      • French insurance companies have been developing mobile applications to stay in contact with their customers 24/7 to complement the other channels already available (such as agents, call centres and websites). These applications aim to:
        - simplify consumers’ daily management of their insurance contracts (by providing an overview their insurance contracts and allowing them to monitor payments and refunds);
        - provide permanent access to relevant information (for example, in case of emergency, when they need support, to access insurance company contacts or to download certificates);
        - make claims handling easier (by allowing consumers to report their claims online and by informing consumers through geolocation — pinpointing the place where the damage occurred — where the closest partners are in order to benefit from negotiated advantages).
    •  
      Germany
      • German insurers have established a simplified procedure for claims-handlings after multiple-vehicle collisions.
    •  
      Ireland
      • Insurance Ireland has implemented a number of industry initiatives to achieve a better customer experience for our member companies, including in claims management. For example, Insurance Ireland works closely with the Irish Insurance Institute, the industry’s training body, to ensure industry graduates are experienced in best customer practices and aware of emerging customer trends.
      • In addition, Insurance Ireland’s flagship President’s Conference will have the customer as its theme for the third consecutive year in 2016. This has enabled Insurance Ireland to develop industry initiatives and action plans to assist in streamlining business processes and reduce operational costs, with consequent benefits for the customer.
    •  
      Hungary
      • The Association of Hungarian Insurance Companies (MABISZ) Contact Centre, which began operating in September 2010, handles complaints filed against member insurance companies in Hungary. This is beneficial for customers who receive feedback much faster due to the effective mediatory activities of the Hungarian association. This has resulted in a continual reduction in the number of complaints filed against insurance companies (mainly in motor insurance) over the last few years.
    •  
      Malta
      • Through its Motor Insurance Repair Efficiency programme, the Maltese association works closely with the Maltese authorities in improving standards in the auto repair industry.
    •  
      Spain
      • In March 2016, the Spanish industry published guidelines on complaints-handling for insurance undertakings. The aim of these guidelines is to reduce the legal deadline to respond to the complaint from two months to one month, halving the maximum amount of time a consumer has to wait.
      • A new mobile application for motor insurance policyholders called Sistema de Declaración de Accidentes para Smartphone (IDEA) was developed in 2015. The app allows policyholders to send the necessary information to their insurer for the settlement of a claim concerning a road accident between two vehicles. The app is linked to CICOS, the system that manages the direct claims settlement system for motor third-party liability insurance in Spain. From July 2016 onwards, every MTPL insurer in Spain must join this system by law. Since its launch in September 2015, the app has already been downloaded over 48,000 times and more than 1,100 claims have been filed through the app. In 86% of the cases the liable driver has recognised their liability and the non-liable driver has been compensated.
    •  
      Sweden
      • Consumers who are not satisfied with an insurance company´s decision on a particular claim can apply to Insurance Sweden´s review boards ("Svensk Försäkrings Nämnder"). These boards, which each deal with a specific area of insurance, have been in place for many years and provide a way to deal with disputes between policyholders and insurance companies. Applications are free of charge.
      • Although not directly involved in dispute settlements, the Konsumenternas Försäkringsbyrå (KFB), which is backed by the Swedish Consumer Agency, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and Insurance Sweden, will relay information on problems identified by consumers to the insurance companies concerned. Established in 1979, the KFB is considered by the companies to be an increasingly important feedback channel.
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      United Kingdom
      • The Association of British Insurers has recently carried out an analysis of 6.9 million claims handled by 19 insurers for the most common insurance claims made during 2013 and 2014. The analysis covered 4.3 million motor claims, 1.8 million home insurance claims and 800 000 travel insurance claims. It showed that 99% of motor claims were successful (average claim paid: £2,160), 87% of travel insurance claims (average claim paid: £2,520) and 79% of home insurance claims (average claim paid: £884). The industry continues to raise consumer awareness to reduce scope for declined home and travel claims.
  • Transparency and Financial Education
    •  
      Austria
      • “Der Versicherungsleitfaden” (The Insurance Light Switch) is a booklet that describes the main types of insurance products available in Austria and provides practical tips for consumers, such as what to do in the case of a claim, as well as information on insurance cover, benefits and potential claim scenarios. It aims to explain complex insurance products in a simple, short and easy to understand way. The Austrian Insurance Association (VVO) has been publishing the booklet since the early 1990s and it published the most recent (21st) edition in 2015.
      • In the early 2000s, the VVO also developed a booklet for entrepreneurs and start-ups together with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ). “Sicher Erfolgreich” (Safely successful) explains the main types of insurance products in plain language and provides practical tips to companies.
      • The Austrian Insurance Association has developed a board game “Less risk — more fun” in cooperation with experts from the education sector (the Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Wien). By playing the game, children can learn to assess risks at different stages in their lives and how to minimise them. The game has been distributed free of charge to 3 000 schools in Austria and has recently been translated into Croatian and Macedonian as part of the VVO’s central and eastern European activities.
      • Since 2012, the Austrian Insurance Association has produced an annual supplement to the monthly consumer magazine “Konsument” that is dedicated to insurance issues. The supplement, “Konsument spezial” focuses on risk awareness and how to minimise risks. It is published in five languages: German, English, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish. The 2016 edition focused on “Growing old safe and healthy — protection and precautions”.
    •  
      Belgium
      • A sectoral agreement on advertising and product information documents for life insurance was reached in 2007 by Belgian insurers. The agreement lays down rules on marketing communications, such as the obligation to provide clear, not misleading information and minimum requirements with regard to the information that needs to be included in these communications. The agreement also contains an obligation to provide consumers with financial information sheets. More information can be accessed here.
      • Assuralia, the Belgian insurance association, launched its consumer information website, ABCAssurance/ABCVerzekering, in 2013. The website provides consumers with information on prevention, insurance contracts and claims handling. It includes checklists that guide consumers step-by-step through particular situations, such as building a house, starting a business or coping with a flood. Further information is provided in brochures, videos and FAQs.
      • The [email protected] website is an online platform that allows secondary school teachers (and students) to search for generic and accurate information on insurance. Different topics and issues are covered, such as the difficulties that the Belgian pension system will face due to demographic changes.
      • Students aged between 16 and 18 and teachers can use the educational website ”Beter Zeker” that has been developed by Assuralia to learn more about insurance. Teachers have the possibility to construct a lesson about insurance that fits the needs of their students, as they follow a virtual lesson about insurance with examples such as what to do about the financial consequences of a skiing accident. The lessons are currently only available in Dutch. For more information, click here.
    •  
      Croatia
      • The Croatian Insurance Bureau, as the initiator of the project “Financial literacy in the Republic of Croatia”, undertakes numerous educational activities with the aim of promoting financial literacy in insurance. It takes part in the working group for the promotion of financial literacy established by the Croatian Ministry of Finance.
      • The Croatian Insurance Bureau and its members regularly undertake educational activities in co-operation with faculties and secondary schools (not only in the framework of the Global Money Week), mostly in the form of lectures, workshops, media presentations, co-operation with the Education and Teacher Training Agency and financial literacy training of teachers in the framework of interdisciplinary civic education in primary and secondary school curricula.
      • The Croatian Insurance Bureau sought approval from the Austrian Insurance Association for translating, printing and using its board game “Less risk, more fun” (see also Austria). As part of its continuous activities with regard to financial literacy in the area of insurance, the Croatian Insurance Bureau intends to distribute the board game in primary and secondary schools.
      • In addition, through the website of the Croatian Insurance Bureau, and social media such as Facebook, it promotes diverse campaigns such as the prize games “Pitalica” (Riddle) and “Osiguraj si nagradu” (Secure yourself a prize), and gives awards for the best video, the best thesis and the best scientific work on insurance.
      • The Croatian Insurance Bureau published its booklet “Čemu zapravo služi osiguranje?” (Actually, what is the purpose of insurance?) as part of its participation in Global Money Week in 2014 and to support the educational activities of the Croatian Insurance Bureau and insurance undertakings. The booklet provides a brief overview of why insurance is important for young citizens when planning a secure future.
    •  
      Cyprus
      • The Cypriot insurance guide for consumers — developed by the Insurance Association of Cyprus and PwC — provides information in the form of 150 questions and answers on the needs of individuals and households.
    •  
      Czech Republic
      • Self-regulatory arrangements on disclosure of information were agreed by Czech insurers in 2014. The Czech Insurance Association (ČAP) also developed a set of four self-regulatory recommendations intending to increase comprehensibility, comparability and transparency of life insurance products with savings/investment element.
      • From 2007 to 2010 the Czech Insurance Association developed and implemented a very comprehensive standard for calculating and disclosing costs.
      • The Czech Insurance Association has developed online calculators that can be used by consumers to work out the minimum insured value of their construction or home insurance policy to see if they are properly insured. They calculate the amount for which it would be possible to rebuild in the same type, size and quality or to repurchase equipment and personal items. If the calculated amount is less than the insured value, consumers are likely to be underinsured and would not be reimbursed fully in the event of a claim.
      • The Czech Insurance Association made a recommendation for a "pension overview" that ensures that consumers get the six most important pieces of information upfront from their provider. The comparison tool "comparing pensions" makes it easy to compare the results from all pension providers cost calculators.
      • The Czech Insurance Association launched its insurance information hub “Jak se pojistit” (How to insure) in 2008. It includes links to different microsites, each dedicated to a particular type of insurance, such as motor, property and life insurance. These microsites were created for individual information campaigns by the association. Each microsite offers consumers comprehensive information through brochures, FAQs and glossaries of insurance terms.
      • The Czech Insurance Association has published specialised brochures that provide consumers with information about particular insurance products or advice on specific situations closely linked to the issue of insurance. The brochures provide step-by-step guides from the pre-contractual stage to the settlement of a claim.
    •  
      Denmark
      • Since 2014, all Danish insurers must list all the taxes/fees which they charge when consumers buy or exchange insurance products on their websites. These lists of taxes/fees help consumers to compare prices and products across companies and ensure transparency.
      • Since around 1990, the Danish insurance and banking sectors have annually set up common preconditions for calculating projected pension benefits. These projections assure comparability between the offers from different companies.
      • Insurance & Pension Denmark (F&P) operates an information service on its website called Forsikringsoplysningen (Ask about insurance). This service has been providing free and independent information about the most common life and non-life insurance products to the general public since the 1970s. In addition to the information on the website, consumers can also ask advisors questions by phone or e-mail. The consumer phone line receives 6 000 general questions a year.
      • Insurance & Pension Denmark has also had a Facebook page called “Forsikringsnørden” (Insurance geeks) since 2010, which provides general insurance information through posts and videos. The page is followed by over 2 500 people.
      • Insurance & Pension Denmark has been running the secretariat of “PensionsInfo” since it was launched in 1999. This is a comprehensive online tracking tool allowing each Dane to access an overview of the pension and associated insurance entitlements from all their pension providers. “PensionsInfo” covers all three pension pillars. Through this service, pension providers can also flag dormant pension rights to the individual and prompt them to check whether it would be profitable to transfer the pot to a new scheme. The tool also presents related insurance covers.
      • Insurance & Pension Denmark also operates the "Fakta om pension" (Facts about pensions) website, which helps consumers to select the product type and provider most suited to them. It allows consumers to learn about different pension providers and the services they offer, as well as to compare elements of the most common products. The elements that users can compare include returns and costs, insurance cover, investment options and the level of service and advice for all pension companies.
      • "The cost initiative" (2007-2010) means that each Danish pension company on its’ website provides a calculation tool showing the total costs to be expected when joining a particular pension scheme.
      • The Danish Insurance Association developed the Forsikringsguiden (Insurance Guide) website in 2016 in cooperation with consumer organisation Tænk. It helps consumers to choose the right insurance policy by providing them with a quick and easy comparison of insurance conditions and prices for the most common types of insurance. The website also aims to create transparency in the insurance market. 23 companies participate in the Forsikringsguiden, representing more than 90% of the Danish market. Once the consumer has completed the comparison, the site can guide the consumer directly to their preferred insurance company.
    •  
      Finland
      • Finance Finland, the association for the financial industry in Finland, has contributed to school curricula and study materials for schools, including compulsory, upper secondary and vocational school materials, through the Ministry of Education and Culture. Financial education is being added to the curriculum starting in the 4th grade (11-year-olds) from 2017.
      • Finance Finland has initiated a national strategy for the improvement of financial literacy in Finland. The strategy work began in early 2014, and is being carried out together with the Advisory Council on Financial Management.
      • Finland's annual "Talousguru" (Economic Guru) is a nationwide financial knowledge competition organised for pupils aged between 16 and 19 in approximately 100 schools by Finance Finland and its partners. Teachers can also contact representatives of local insurance companies and banks via the federation’s website to invite them to speak to pupils about financial issues and services.
      • Zaldo is an interactive website for 9th grade students and their teachers. It is a gamified learning environment that teaches personal financial skills and money management. Finance Finland, the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE) and Junior Achievement Finland also organise a Zaldo competition every year. In 2016, more than 100 9th-grade school classes participated in the Zaldo competition, which tested the financial knowledge of 15 to 16-year-old students.
      • Since 2009, the www.keepitrolling.fi website aims to present the industry in a comprehensible and easily approachable manner, with stories from employees and information on education.
      • Finance Finland has produced online study materials on the financial sector, which were updated in 2013 and are still in use.
      • The Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE) published the booklet “Hupsis” (Oops) targeted at young people in 2014. It contains information on travel, motor, property and personal accident insurance through examples young people can relate to, such as the fact that travel insurance might not cover sports like paragliding or skydiving, or that car theft abroad is not necessarily covered by their insurance policy. Finance Finland is the largest funder of FINE.
      • Since 2010 Finance Finland has been a co-operating partner of Junior Achievement Finland, which provides extensive training in financial and entrepreneurial matters.
      • In 2014, the Finnish insurance company, LähiTapiola, established a service called "TerveysHelppi" (HealthHelp), which is a call centre where insurance clients can receive free advice from health professionals (eg nurses etc). The call centre provides them with advice on what kind of treatment they need, what is the basic coverage of the insurance and where to treat their problems (in which doctor/health center).
    •  
      France
      • A book of all professional requirements and commitments was adopted and is regularly reviewed by the French Insurance Federation (FFA). These commitments aim to ensure a higher level of information, to be provided to French policyholders as to the conditions in which their demands and application are processed.
      • The website of the French Insurance Federation (FFA) has a consumer section with practical information, factsheets, FAQs, and a clear and comprehensive glossary of insurance terms. More information here.
      • As a lack of understanding of insurance terms can act as a barrier to people accessing information, the Federation of French Insurers has worked on glossaries to explain insurance terminology. These include:
        - A glossary of terms used in the field of loan repayment insurance. In 2015, the FFA was involved in drafting this glossary, which explains terms relating to the legal framework and insurance contracts to consumers and bank and insurance advisors.
        - A regularly updated glossary of insurance terms on the FFA website.
      • In 2012 a joint declaration was made by l’Union nationale des organismes d’assurance maladie complémentaire members regarding to best practices and commitments providing readability and clarity of guarantees included in the insurance complementary contracts in France. More information here.
      • The “Mission Risques Naturels”, an initiative by French insurers to improve knowledge about, and the prevention of, climate-related losses, published a practical guide in 2016 to explain to the general public how to deal with a natural disaster. It aims to also better inform policyholders about the natural catastrophe coverage and exclusions in their motor and home insurance.
      • A glossary of terms used in the field of loan repayment insurance was published in 2015, to help consumers who are looking for a loan repayment insurance to explain terms relating to the legal framework and to insurance contracts. It also helps bank and insurance advisors when advising their customers.
      • The French “Mission Risques Naturels” (MRN), an initiative by the French insurers to improve the knowledge and prevention of climate, published a practical guide explaining the general public how to deal with a natural disaster in October 2016. It aims to also better inform policyholders about the natural catastrophe coverage and exclusions in their motor and home insurance.
      • Insurance companies have been developing online tools to enhance customer understanding of savings, pensions and/or provident offers. Those tools provide clear information to clients about what the different options and choices are offered to them. Specifically to savings products, these tools can allow consumers to measure their risk appetite and therefore to select a coherent solution to their needs.
    •  
      Germany
      • A reduction-in-yield (RIY) indicator was introduced with the German life insurance reform act of 2014. All life insurance policies must contain key indicators regarding the impact of all costs. In fact, this indicator was already recommended by the GDV on a non-binding basis for all life insurance products ever since 2011. More information available here.
      • In recent years GDV developed non-binding recommendations on the pre-contractual and on-going information provisions on performance of life insurance and pension products (Leistungsdarstellung in der Lebensversicherung, 2008; Wertmitteilungen bei Riester, 2009). The recommendation on the on-going information document for life and pension products is being updated in 2015.
      • In 2016 the GDV presented new non-binding requirements for providing ongoing information on life insurance and pension products. With the assistance of linguistic experts, the structure, content and design of the new statements were thoroughly revised to make the texts as clear, short and comprehensible as possible for consumers.
      • The "Safety 1st" tool/website is aimed at young adults and their teachers, providing them with an accessible introduction to social insurance and private pensions.
      • With the serious game “Way of life”, available online and as mobile application, young adults can practice making decisions in different relevant fields of life, e. g. in economy and finance.
      • To illustrate the need to save for retirement the GDV developed a pension calculator for its website in 2014. People can use the calculator to receive an estimate of their future pension benefits. The information that they enter is anonymous and is not saved.
      • People generally live seven years longer than they tend to believe. Based on this premise, the GDV launched the campaign “7 Jahre länger” (7 years longer) to raise people’s awareness of their true life expectancy and the demographic challenges connected to it. The main tool of the campaign is its website, which is complemented by a Facebook page. The website includes a life expectancy calculator to work out the cost of living for chosen items and services until the end of one’s life.
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      Greece
      • Due to the reform of the Greek health and social security system, the Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) felt it was important to inform consumers about the operation of private insurance health sector in very plain language. This information is displayed both on the HAIC’s website and the websites of its member companies. In addition, some of HAIC’s members use it as a tool for their communication with their customers.
      • The Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) has drafted material to highlight the changes in the new law regarding MTPL. This information was communicated by HAIC’s member companies to their insureds and it is displayed on the HAIC’s website.
      • The “Day of private insurance” has been one of the top annual events organised by the Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) for over a decade. It is held on 11 November every year and it provides an opportunity for the HAIC to raise awareness of and communicate about the benefits of insurance to individuals, the media and policymakers. The 2016 campaign was called ”When you least expect it”, with the tagline “Insuring is caring”. It included an event at the largest square in Athens and three videos about health insurance, property insurance and pensions. The campaign created significant media buzz (TV, radio, newspapers, portals, blogs) and all the campaign messages were widely communicated via social media.
    •  
      Hungary
      • The "Unit-linked Total Cost Indicator" (TKM), developed by the Hungarian Insurance Association (MABISZ), allows customers to compare the costs of unit-linked life products. The TKM index demonstrates the global cost and charges in one single number as reduction in yield. This information makes possible for customers to compare the products in a transparent and easy way, and to understand the significance of cost level. The index is also being considered in the preparatory works of the packaged retail investment and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) regulation. The indicator will also be adopted and made compulsory by the National Bank of Hungary.
      • The Hungarian Insurance Association has run an educational programme since 2014. The programme covers pensions, life, home and accident insurance and fire protection. MABISZ regularly reports on this programme to the media. On pension education, for example, MABISZ created a microsite about the importance of saving for retirement and the types of pension products available. It also produced a TV advertisement to promote pensions.
      • The Hungarian Insurance Association has also developed a detailed educational training programme with materials that provide general financial education to young people (aged 17 to 19). The insurance materials were approved and published by the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development in 2016. Insurance has been part of the national teaching programme since 2013.
      • The Hungarian Insurance Association has been operating “Díjnavigátor”, a free motor third-party liability (MTPL) aggregator website, since 2010. It helps consumers to make informed decisions by calculating and comparing the MTPL premiums of all insurance companies in the Hungarian market in a transparent way.
      • The Hungarian Insurance Association has focused on providing information to clients and loss prevention for many years. Its website provides information packs, guides and recommendations on preventing burglaries or damage from lightning, the importance of liability insurance, and answers on property and technical, household and motor insurance.
    •  
      Iceland
      • The Icelandic Financial Services Association (SFF) started its own project on financial education, called “Fjármálavit“ (financial knowledge), to raise the financial literacy of 13 to 15-year-old children. The project consists of educational material that can be used by teachers in their classes and visits by members of the SFF throughout the year to schools to provide Fjármálavit lessons. The education material is available on a dedicated website and there is also a Facebook page with pictures and videos of school visits. In terms of insurance, Fjármálavit mainly focuses on risk awareness and on the importance of insurance.
    •  
      Ireland
      • In addition to its annual Insurance Fact File, Insurance Ireland has undertaken a new data project to provide services in relation to the collation, analysis and production of key sets of data from motor insurers operating in the Irish market in response to an evolving claims environment.
      • The Insurance Information Service (IIS) that is operated by Insurance Ireland, the Irish insurance association, has been providing general, jargon-free information about insurance to consumers since 1990. The IIS was set up to respond to public enquires about insurance policies and claims as well as to handle certain complaints. The IIS provides the information to consumers by phone and e-mail. Its services also include resolving cases under the Declined Cases Agreement, a statutory provision under which a person must be provided with a motor insurance quote if they have been previously declined by three insurers.
      • Insurance Ireland, the Irish insurance association, and consultancy Accenture have formed a partnership focusing on consumer education. It produced the “Little Book of Insurance” in 2016 to provide a simple guide to the Irish insurance market, explain the key terms in the industry and place some industry issues in context. The “Little Book of Insurance” is available on the Insurance Ireland website and has been distributed by Accenture.
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      Italy
      • "Io & i rischi" (Me & Risks) is an initiative aimed at preventing risks and promoting an insurance culture among young Italian students. It focuses on concepts such as risks, damage management, sharing the burden of risks, managing resources according to medium and long-term goals, and retirement planning. The Italian Association of Insurance Companies (ANIA) launched the initiative through the Forum ANIA-Consumatori, a non-profit foundation that includes several consumer associations. In just a few years, over 90 000 students have been involved in this project. A variety of materials have been produced for middle schools and high schools for this initiative, including guides and flashcards for teachers and worksheets, slides and game magazines for students. The project also includes a test of the skills learned
      • The “Gran Premio di Matematica Applicata” (Grand Prix of Applied Mathematics) was developed by the Forum ANIA-Consumatori (comprising representatives of insurance companies and consumer associations) together with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan to show students how their logical and mathematical knowledge can be applied in everyday life. In addition, the initiative aims to inform students about the careers as an actuary. During academic year 2015/2016, the XV edition of “Gran Premio di Matematica Applicata” involved over 7,500 students.
      • All pension products in Italy must now include a tool that allows consumers to calculate costs they face if the product is maintained for 2, 5, 10 and 35 years. ANIA has published a calculator estimating pensions and complementary pension schemes in Italy on its website as well as on the Supervision Authority website. This tool must be inserted in the documentation published on the pension scheme website and be given to the customer.
      • The Forum ANIA-Consumatori carried out an in-depth analysis on Italy’s welfare system and its future development perspectives. The analysis was carried out in cooperation with Censis, a social study and research institute, and highlights the convergence areas between consumers and insurance companies on welfare. On the basis of this research, insurers and consumer organisations shared some proposals aimed at promoting transparency, equity, efficiency and reliability of the Italian welfare system, as well as raising public awareness about prevention and the demographic evolution of Italy.
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      Latvia
      • The Latvian Insurers Association (LAA) participates in the Latvian financial education week (called FIN), which coincides with Global Money Week. The theme of 2017 was “Journey in financial literacy – Gudrīte’s revision”. The mascot of FIN is a piglet named Gudrīte (Smarty). During FIN 2017, the partners in the initiative will travel to various regions of Latvia organising lectures, seminars, games and other activities to promote the significance of financial literacy. The LAA participated in a seminar called “Money comes” by the insurance company CBL Life and the BA School of Business and Finance in Riga and the LAA president gave a lecture at the ISMA university.
    •  
      Malta
      • The Maltese association participates at a careers convention organised by the Malta University, which promotes the insurance industry as a long-term career.
    •  
      Netherlands
      • The Dutch Association of Insurers (VVN) is a co-founder of the online platform “Wijzer in geldzaken” (Money Wise), which is hosted by the Ministry of Finance. HM Queen Máxima is the honorary chair of the platform, which aims to help Dutch citizens become financially resilient using online tools and the campaigns “Pension3Days” and “Money Week”. The VVN participates in these campaigns. During the Money Week the financial services and insurance industry organise initiatives for schools to raise awareness among kids.
      • The Dutch Association of Insurers gives “Fix je Risk” insurance lessons to children in primary school. The interactive session is based on children’s own experiences. After the children have had an explanation of the basic concepts of insurance, they can play the “Fix je Risk” game, either as a board game or online. In 2016, the VVN gave 500 lessons and it aims to give 750 lessons in 2017.
      • The Dutch Association of Insurers also provides insurance education to community college students in cooperation with Nibud (the National Institute for Family Finance Information). These students are one of the vulnerable groups in society when it comes to financial independence. Its “MoneyWays” programme involves lessons by young role models, rather than teachers, about taking risks and the usefulness of and need for insurance.
      • The www.vanatotzekerheid.nl website (From A to security) was set up by the Dutch Association of Insurers in 2014 to provide independent consumer information in plain language. The information is arranged by life event, such as getting married, buying a house or travelling abroad, to make it easy for consumers to find the information they are looking for.
      • The pension tracking tool www.mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl provides citizens with an overview of their pension entitlements from their first, second and third pillar pension. The tool is an initiative by the Dutch Association of Insurers, the Dutch Pensions Federation and the “Sociale Verzekeringsbank”, the organization that implements national insurance schemes in the Netherlands.
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      Norway
      • Finance Norway, the association for the financial industry in Norway, and the Nordic non-life insurance companies have, on their own initiative, established an accreditation scheme for sellers and advisers in insurance. The system  ensures the necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills of sales staff and advisers at a national level.
      • "Norsk Pensjon" (Norwegian Pension) is an online tracking tool that provides consumers with an overview of the expected retirement value of various pension schemes. The tool, which was launched in 2006, collates information from private pensions, occupational pensions and public pension schemes. Finance Norway was one of the main initiators of this tracking tool. It has proved very popular with consumers, who are performing 3.4 million pension calculations every year.
      • The Finansportalen website is a portal that allows consumers to compare conditions and prices for the most common types of insurance and other financial products. The portal was developed by the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman, the Consumer Council and the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. It was first launched in 2008 and has officially been part of the Consumer Council since 2010. Insurance companies provide the data for the portal.
      • Finance Norway has developed a personal finance training programme for more than 30 000 secondary school students, including questions about pensions and non-life insurance, in close cooperation with Ungt Entreprenørskap, the Norwegian member of JA Europe (which provides education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy). Together they have created “Economics for success” for lower secondary schools and “Run your own life” for higher secondary schools.
      • Finance Norway has established a national network of stakeholders interested in financial education. The initiative came from the Minister for Children and Equality, with Finance Norway running the secretariat. It has developed a special website for teachers, consisting of teaching resources in financial education.
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      Portugal
      • The Portuguese Insurance Association (APS) launched an “insurance and citizenship” financial education website for children in 2015. The interactive website revolves around a teen band travelling around Portugal and encountering problems along the way. It includes books and manuals for teachers, videos, interactive books and other tools and an insurance library.
      • The APS has also developed eight games for different ages that can be played online and on a mobile phone. There are two games for children aged 5 to 8, two for children from 8 to 10, three for those 10 to 12 and one without a specific target age group. The mobile phone games can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store.
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      Spain
      • Some guidelines on "Good Practices for Transparency in Insurance Commercialisation" were published in July 2014 by the Spanish association. This guide was the culmination of a process of self-regulation in transparency for consumers.
      • In 2016, the Spanish Insurers Association (UNESPA) launched a four-year initiative “Estamos Seguros” (We are safe/sure/insurance) to promote the value, social relevance and understanding of insurance and risk prevention. The campaign features a dedicated website, blogging, social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), online advertising, multimedia content, infographics and industry best-practice commitments.
      • A key part of the “Estamos Seguros” campaign is the “Aprendo Seguro” (I learn to be safe/ to be sure/about insurance) financial education initiative that promotes insurance and risk prevention to high school students. UNESPA developed this initiative in collaboration with two federations of non-state schools and it was launched in 2016.
      • UNESPA has also developed good practice guides to provide consumers more information about the following topics:
        Insurance contracts, including payments protection guarantees in case of unemployment or temporary disability
        Motor insurance contracts
        Health insurance underwriting
        Property damage insurance contracts
      • UNESPA and Tirea, an IT company for insurers, have developed a free app that enables consumers and other interested parties to find out what compensation they would receive for bodily injuries according to the Spanish injuries evaluation system for road-traffic accidents (Baremo). It is aimed at road-traffic victims, judges, lawyers, attorneys, doctors and others involved in the settlement of traffic accidents. The application is available from Google Play, the App Store, the Chrome App Store and the UNESPA website.
      • UNESPA also created a video called “Save Now” in collaboration with the Spanish pension fund association (INVERCO) to encourage young people to save for their retirement. The video shows a young couple getting an explanation of pensions and the challenges an ageing society faces. It also stresses the importance of starting to save now for retirement.
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      Sweden
      • The Swedish pension tracking system, Min Pension ("My Pension"), was established in 2004 as a subsidiary of Insurance Sweden, the insurance association. The system gives individuals a full picture of their current total pension rights and savings in all three pension pillars. They can also receive a free estimate of their total future pension. The service is run and financed half by the state and half by pension providers. The system covers 98% of the total pension capital in Sweden, which means that nine out of ten pension savers are able to see their pension at Min Pension.
      • In October 2014, Insurance Sweden issued a recommendation on pension terminology. This recommendation states that companies shall use the terminology and definitions given in the formal Swedish Standard "Pensionstermer" (Pension terms), complemented by the list of "Pensionstermer för konsumenter" (Pension terms for consumers). The recommendation is based on a "comply or explain" approach. More information can be accessed here.
      • In October 2014 Insurance Sweden also issued a recommendation on pre-purchase information. This recommendation aims to ensure that companies present pre-purchase information in an educational and accessible way. Moreover, the companies shall clearly point out what major areas are not covered by a particular insurance policy. The recommendation is based on a "comply or explain" approach.
      • In June 2015, Insurance Sweden issued a recommendation on the information to be provided to policyholders in connection with portability of the accrued value of pension insurance. The recommendation includes special fact sheets for the comparison of the most essential product information relevant for transferring the value from one product to another, including both the present and the potential new product. The recommendation is based on a “comply or explain” approach and entered into force on 1 January 2016. The recommendation is also complemented by a possibility for consumers to compare the costs of different products through the website provided by Konsumenternas Försäkringsbyrå.
      • The Konsumenternas Försäkringsbyrå (KFB), the Swedish Consumers’ Insurance Bureau, offers information on life insurance, non-life insurance and pension products. On its website, the KFB provides independent comparisons of products. The website received over a million visitors in 2015 and is supported by the Swedish Consumer Agency, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and Insurance Sweden, the Swedish insurance association. Consumers can also contact the KFB by phone, e-mail or via social media to receive independent comparisons or get help with complaints and other insurance-related problems.
      • Insurance Sweden issued an extensive report on consumer information in 2013.
      • Insurance Sweden has run the “Ersättningskollen” (Compensation check) website since 2014. It was produced with the public agency for sickness benefits (Försäkringskassan) and AFA Insurance, an insurance company owned by labour market representatives. The website allows consumers to calculate what benefits and compensation they are entitled to from both public and private schemes in case of sickness, an accident or occupational injuries. It does not require any login and gives them a first check of their economic situation and a guide to how to apply for compensation and benefits.
      • "Fullmaktskollen.se” is a Swedish service for managing the powers of attorney (a legal authorisation to represent or act on another's behalf) relating to pensions and life assurance policies. The service was launched in June 2016 and is provided free of charge to individuals and employers. It is financed by fees paid by Swedish insurers that connect to the system. The website/company is jointly owned by Insurance Sweden and the Swedish Insurance Brokers' Association. The Swedish Pensions Agency has participated in the work of setting up the service and has provided the first financing.
    •  
      United Kingdom
      • Industry, Government and consumer organisations within the UK are currently collaborating on a ‘Pensions Language Project’ which aims to standardise simple, jargon-free language when describing the new retirement choices introduced in the UK in April 2015. The industry-led steering group responsible for the project has developed a Guide to be used across the long-term savings sector, including providers, financial adviser, public bodies, commentators and the media, in order to drive greater consistency in the terms used when communicating with customers about their retirement choices.
      • UK insurers are also collaborating with asset managers and trust-based pension providers to develop common industry standards for transaction costs disclosure for workplace pensions. This will enable both trustees and independent governance committees to meet existing legislative requirements to disclose transaction costs in a more meaningful and consistent way.
  • Risk management innovative initiatives
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      Belgium
      • A database has been put in place since 2010 which provides the Belgian authorities with 24hr contact with insurers who provide assistance coverage to drivers involved in case of accident or breakdown.
      • The Belgian insurance association, Assuralia, has further developed the consumer website “ABCAssurance”. This website provides consumers with information on prevention, insurance contracts and claims handling. It also features different brochures and checklists that explain consumers step-by-step what to do in a particular situation. One of these brochures focuses on helping consumers to keep their insurance policies up to date.
    •  
      Czech Republic
      • In 2014, the Czech Insurers Bureau started to use a 4-digit phone number to make it easier for motorists to call road-side assistance services which are covered by their motor insurance policies.
    •  
      Denmark
      • In order to provide insurance cover, Danish insurance companies ask their clients to install tracking devices in, among others, expensive vehicles and construction machinery to prevent theft. The Danish Insurance Association has developed a system for the registration of tracking devices. Every supplier has to have their devices controlled by a third party, who are subsequently issuing the necessary certificate. The certificate is the basis for a registration in the Danish Insurance Association’s system.
      • The Danish Insurance Association has developed an 8 point national strategy to prevent fires in Danish work places in cooperation with other stakeholders. This strategy aims to reduce the number of fire casualties. The Danish government now has the leading role with a goal of a national action during 2016.
      • The Danish Insurance Association has offered municipalities in Denmark a large amount of free insurance data on damages caused by heavy rain. There are no restrictions or requirements for the use of this data by municipalities, as long as data protection rules are observed. The data is primarily used for risk mapping and risk analysis in the municipalities’ climate adaption activities. By offering this data, the Danish Insurance Association aims to contribute to better climate change adaption and mitigation, and to make it possible for municipalities to focus on places where consumers experience damages caused by heavy rain.
    •  
      Estonia
      • In Estonia several initiatives were introduced to improve public safety and awareness of traffic related risks, including a free check of vehicles loss history on the association’s website in order to avoid fraud in used car sales and a mapping device to show where traffic accidents had occurred, and what were the causes and consequences.
    •  
      France
      • Attitude Prévention is an association involving 280 insurance companies and mutual insurers that is focused on the prevention of risks, such as road safety, day to day accident prevention and health protection. Recent action plans include:
        - A public education campaign in collaboration with the French police aiming at improving the skills of motorcyclists, the category of road users which is most at risk.
        - A TV and internet campaign targeting families during summer holidays and promoting appropriate road behaviour on the road.
        - A drawing contest aiming at promoting physical activity and sports to children, organised through a Facebook community “les mamans assurent”, which has over 100.000 members.
      • The French “Mission Risques Naturels” (MRN), an initiative by the French insurers to improve the knowledge and prevention of climate, published a practical guide explaining the general public how to deal with a natural disaster in October 2016. It aims to also better inform policyholders about the natural catastrophe coverage and exclusions in their motor and home insurance.
    •  
      Germany
      • The German flood resilience certificate (Hochwasserpass) is a web-based tool to identify flood risk potential, which poses questions and offers flood resilience recommendations free of charge. This tool can be upgraded, with experts’ advice, to a flood resilience certificate. This, in turn, makes risk assessment of highly exposed risks by insurance companies easier and, therefore, broadens the market for consumers.
      • The compass for natural threats (Kompass Naturgefahren) is a public information system in Germany which contains geocoded data on natural catastrophe perils. It helps to encourage consumers to take out preventative measures on an individual and local basis (eg against flooding).
      • The www.udv.de website (in English www.udv.de/en) provides German insurers’ accident research on road safety, including crash tests (available via YouTube) and a database of electronic stability control in all cars sold in Germany since 2006.
      • The GDV is an official partner of a national campaign to raise awareness of road safety. 
      • The German insurers have launched a campaign “7-Jahre-länger” (7 years longer) to raise consumers’ awareness of their real life expectancy and demographic challenges connected to it. By using an online tool consumers can check the value of their prospective old-age income in the year 2040 in the different regions of Germany.
    •  
      Greece
      • An innovative campaign, targeting 15-25 years-old, against young people drinking while driving, has been conducted three times since 2011. The Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) intends to repeat the campaign on a yearly basis. The initiative includes a road assistance truck, with a crashed car on its platform with a banner that says “He drank, he drove, he killed. What will you do?”, driving around at late hours in targeted regions. The objective is to attract the target group’s attention and deter them from drinking while driving. At the same time, a leaflet against alcohol and driving is being widely distributed.
      • The Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies (HAIC) and the Hellenic Institute of Road Safety — Panos Mylonas — organised a festival around the message “Safe driving is an issue of life”, to raise awareness at the general public about road safety. The festival took place under the auspices of the Greek Presidency of the European Union on May 2014. The visitors of the festival could participate in activities such as interactive educational programmes, first aid training in case of road accidents and road accidents’ simulations.
    •  
      Italy
      • "Drive in Italy" is a 2014 project by the ANIA Foundation for Road Safety which aims to integrate foreign citizens with a driver’s license valid in Italy. This includes improving the foreign drivers’ knowledge of Italian traffic rules, spreading responsible behaviours behind the wheel and offering practical training to tackle the dangers one can face while driving.
      • The ANIA Foundation for Road Safety’s "Black Point" project addresses the fact that accidents in Italy are often caused by the presence of construction/maintenance faults in existing infrastructure. The project aims to provide information on the role of such faults in road accidents, allowing for a more thorough analysis of the phenomenon to be made.
      • The Italian Forum ANIA-Consumatori (comprising representatives of insurance companies and consumer associations) decided to set up a watchdog that analyses the financial vulnerability profiles of Italian households and their propensity to manage risks. The objective of this initiative is to increase awareness among Italian households about the need to improve resilience of their household to external financial shocks, such as a global economic crisis or the fact that the guarantees offered by the State are gradual shrinking. The 2014 results of the second monitoring of the watchdog were published here.
    •  
      Malta
      • The Maltese association issues annual media releases with information to help the general public to prepare themselves for the first autumn showers and storms.
      • In April 2015, the Maltese association was appointed as a member of the Road Safety Council created by the Ministry of Transport and Transport Malta. The council’s objective is to promote safer driving in Malta, and to lower injuries and fatalities over a five year horizon and recommend improvements to network infrastructure.
    •  
      Netherlands
      • Dutch insurers have signed approximately seven safety deals in the last one and half years. A safety deal is a declaration or contract with other institutions (public/private) in which insurers, together with the other organisations, set safety goals on which they want to work together.
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      Norway
      • In 2014, a database called "FG-control" was created to be used by insurance companies, certified inspectors and owners of buildings. The database is managed by Finance Norway, and named FG because the approval board of insurance companies in Norway dealing with the technical loss prevention system is called FG. The database was applied in 2014 to provide for an overview of the level of risk for buildings safety systems (eg. fire detection and fire alarm systems, alarm systems intruder, electrical systems and fixed firefighting systems.)
      • Finance Norway is responsible for a system that delivers insurance information about vehicles to the national vehicle register. The system called TFFAuto is notably used by the national authorities to deregister uninsured vehicles.
    •  
      United Kingdom
      • The UK’s "Flood Re" scheme is a not-for-profit flood reinsurance fund, owned and managed by the insurance industry. It was established to ensure that domestic properties in the UK at the highest risk of flooding can receive affordable cover for the flood element of their household property insurance. Flood Re launched in April 2016 and it is expected that over time, around 350,000 properties may benefit from being able to access affordable flood insurance.
  • Initiatives to fight insurance fraud
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      Belgium
      • In March 2013 there was a sectoral agreement introducing recommendations related to the fight against fraud strategy in the insurance sector in Belgium.
    •  
      Denmark
      • The Danish insurance industry has developed a branch code of conduct for investigating insurance fraud and suspicious insurance events, based on a very detailed legal review created by a highly respected university professor. The branch code regulates what specific measures the insurance company may take in any given situation. The code is followed by all members of the Danish Insurance Industry.
      • Most, if not all, insurance fraud investigators in Denmarkare former active police officers, who have all worked in a professional manner prior to their current occupation. Every insurance fraud investigator continuously takes part in internal and external training courses, among others at the Danish Insurance Academy. The Danish association and insurance investigators jointly conduct training courses in combating insurance fraud at the police academy.
    •  
      Estonia
      • In Estonia several initiatives were introduced to improve public safety and awareness of traffic related risks, including a free check of vehicles loss history on the association’s website in order to avoid fraud in used car sales and a mapping device to show where traffic accidents had occurred, and what were the causes and consequences.
    •  
      France
      • ALFA (Association de Lutte contre la Fraude à l’Assurance) implemented an "observatory" to monitor fraudulent practices in the French insurance sector in order to provide qualitative analysis of the phenomenon, especially in view of identifying new operating modes. It particularly focuses on improving fraud detection and management in the field of health complementary insurance, including on optics, dental services and hospital treatment.
      • ALFA intervenes in the context of training/certifying systems dedicated to members of the French federation of liability insurance experts in the field of household fires. Every year thousands of private investigations are conducted by insurers into claims suspected of being fraudulent. In order to ensure the level of competences of those investigators — whose profession is subject to regulation — the ALFA implemented with the French national organisation for standardisation (the AFNOR) a certification system for private investigators respecting the ISO 17024 standards. The entire system is constantly evolving and updated, particularly regarding the skills framework.
      • The French industry has helped to develop recommendations regarding the fight against fraud in terms of delegated administration.
      • In terms of how warnings are disseminated, whenever a new type of fraud is identified, a note describing it is sent to the members of the ALFA. A list of types of fraud known by the ALFA is regularly updated and disseminated to a growing distribution list.
      • Given that medical aspects must be taken into account in the fight against fraud, both in life and non-life insurance (in case of bodily injuries), ALFA appointed a doctor specialised in issues relating to insurance fraud to its team in 2014. In May 2015, a medical committee dedicated to the issue of fraud and gathering together medical experts has been launched in order to identify and organised several common actions to be led.
      • An insurance compliance pack cooperation agreement was agreed between the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) and the insurance actors to establish legal tools and simplified procedures, and good practices specially adapted to the concerned professional sector (fact sheets), anti-fraud measures, best practices, better commercial and marketing management and data collection. This package was presented officially on 12 November 2014 and is made of two simplified rules and three single authorisations. It aims to give the insurance sector a set of rules in the framework of the French data protection act. The single authorisation related to fight against fraud came into force in July 2014. Consequently, the process of those data is standardised due to its submission to a single regulation tool and respects both the data protection rules and consumers’ fundamental rights recognised at national and European level.
    •  
      Germany
      • The German insurance industry has created an information system to combat fraud. Data protection authorities have been involved in the development of the Insurance Risk and Fraud Database (HIS). Transparency is a key element of the system: affected customers are notified if reported to the system and have the right to request access.
    •  
      Ireland
      • Insurance Ireland runs Insurance Confidential, a dedicated service comprising a website and hotline, to encourage members of the public to report cases of suspected fraud which are estimated to cost Irish policyholders €50 per premium per year. This collaborative approach appeals directly to the public to make them aware that fraud ultimately contributes to the cost of their insurance premiums and they can help address the problem. Insurance Confidential is supported by an annual multi-channel anti-fraud campaign which has recently been tailored to focus on younger audiences through social media.
    •  
      Norway
      • Finance Norway and its Financial Crime Unit publish an annual trend report examining the threats faced by the Norwegian industry. Effective procedures are also established for the exchange of information and for collaboration with the police, the Norwegian Welfare and Labour Administration, the Norwegian Business and Security Council and various other industry bodies.
    •  
      Slovakia
      • Slovak Insurance Association (SLASPO) has developed an insurance fraud prevention department to help insurers fight against the insurance fraud. The manager of the department prepares and organises workshops to educate insurance employees.
    •  
      Spain
      • The Spanish fraud prevention strategy that is being implemented by the industry includes:
        - The setting up of individual fraud strategies in each undertaking or group.
        - The setting up of shared databases for fraud prevention (such as the so-called FPTRI, a database on total motor losses).
        - Discussing and signing protocols and agreements with different police forces in order to channel all the questions and data requests to insurance undertakings by the police and the courts. These requests concern presumably illegal defrauding practices that are under judicial scrutiny and investigation.
        - Analysing the possibility of setting up direct interconnection of police forces with insurers shared databases.
    •  
      Sweden
      • Insurance Sweden has subsidiary companies that are involved in the fight against insurance fraud:
        - The subsidiary GSR AB manages a claims register. Almost all insurance claims — both life and non-life claims — are recorded in the claims register. The register can be used by insurance companies to avoid multiple payments of the same insurance claim, as well as to “red flag” a case for further investigation when they come across clients with an unusual number of claims. The existence of the register is likely to reduce the number of attempted insurance fraud and also prevent insurance fraud.
        - The subsidiary Larmtjänst AB provides services to the insurance companies with the view to combat insurance-related crime, i.e. thefts and insurance fraud. Larmtjänst collects statistical information from insurance companies on all detected fraud cases. On the basis of this information, Insurance Sweden and Larmtjänst publish an annual report on insurance fraud. The report contains statistics as well as discussion on current trends and on initiatives to counteract fraud. The report is also used as a basis for attracting media cover on the negative consequences of insurance fraud.
  • Conduct of business good practices
    •  
      Belgium
      • In 2014, Assuralia developed non-binding sectoral questionnaires that are now used in sales discussions between intermediaries and their customers. These documents provide a way to analyse the customer’s demands and needs, as well as the suitability or appropriateness of products (where relevant) and document the final outcome of the conversation with the customer (advised or non-advised sale). The questionnaires were developed together with the Belgian broking federations and the Belgian national supervisor. This ensures that the questionnaires are easily understood by customers, by making them familiar with the general questions. For more information, click here.
      • An agreement concluded between Assuralia and the Ministry of Defence gives more clarity and security to military staff on a mission abroad as to (the conditions for) the preservation of a death coverage concluded while on their mission.
      • Belgian insurers and pension funds have concluded a sectoral agreement on the standard documents that are to be used for the transfer of individual pension reserves when someone changes employer. For more information, click here.
    •  
      Denmark
      • Since 2004, Danish consumers have had the opportunity to cancel a contract within the term of the contract. The period of notice is one month.
      • Since 1975 Danish consumers can solve disputes without going to court and instead complain through the Insurance Complaints Board.
      • Legal expenses insurance is automatically included in contents, car, boat and house insurances. This means that about 90% of all households in Denmark have legal expenses cover. In close cooperation with the Danish Consumer Council, the Danish insurance industry has drafted conditions for legal assistance that are equal for all companies. This has been done to ensure that all consumers in Denmark have the opportunity to a remedy before the court, without having to pay incurred legal and administrative costs themselves. The common conditions for legal assistance have been revised as of 1 January 2016 in order to make them more consumer-friendly. At the same time, the conditions have been translated into English so that non-native speakers living in Denmark are able to read the conditions. Moreover, the insurance industry recently increased the insurance coverage on legal expenses. Hence the vast majority of insurance claims are fully covered — even when the case is appealed.
    •  
      Estonia
      • An administration of car bodywork calculation software was upgraded in Estonia in 2014. The standard was adopted in order to smooth the claims handling process and avoid disputes over the cost of the bodywork. The use of the association’s database has become a standard for state and local authorities regarding planning of roads.
      • Free evaluation of vehicles before-the-accident market value has been available in Estonia since 2013.
      • The Estonian Conciliation Body (ADR), which was launched in April 2011 and is administered by the Estonian Insurance Association, means that an insurer involved in a particular case has to cover the costs of the case regardless of the result. It aims for win-win solutions and low costs for all parties involved.
    •  
      Finland
      • Healthy Financial Sector is a Finnish project to find practical measures for the changes that need to be made in financial companies. It is a project to improve profitability, competitiveness and wellbeing in the Finnish insurance sector. More information available here.
    •  
      France
      • In France the water damage commitment, which was signed in 2014, aimed to overcome a "collateral" effect of a previous agreement governing the procedures between insurers regarding water damage. It represents a commitment to not use the criterion of the occurrence of water damage with third party responsible to terminate or not to renew a household multi-risk insurance contract (applicable since March 2015 and fully implemented in 2016).
      • In France a cooling-off period and termination rules were introduced in case of duplicate protection (in line with the recent legislation on consumer rights). Its application was facilitated by insurers providing their policyholders with a right of withdrawal without any justification of the existence of a prior guarantee for insurance for "nomades". The commitment was adopted by the FFSA in 2014 and will be applicable upon GEMA endorsement.
      • In France the AERAS (S'Assurer et Emprunter avec un Risque Aggravé de Santé) Convention facilitates access to insurance and borrowing money from a bank for those who have severe health problems. This convention has been signed by government, professional federations of insurers and credit institutions, and patients and consumers associations. This convention was amended in 2015 to introduce a “right to be forgotten”. Under certain conditions, this exempts people that were cured from cancer, after a certain period of time (ten years after the end of the treatment protocol, or five years for cancer diseases that occurred before the age of eighteen), from mentioning this when they wish to take out a loan repayment insurance (credit insurance). A reference grid was also established for which several health problems are included under the convention. This grid is intended to integrate an increasing number of pathologies (notably chronic diseases and HIV) as soon as medical breakthroughs make it possible. In addition, it is no longer possible to jointly apply an additional premium and a disclaimer for a specific guarantee.
      • An insurance compliance pack cooperation agreement was agreed between the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) and insurers to establish legal tools and simplified procedures, and good practices specially adapted to the concerned professional sector (fact sheets), anti-fraud measures, best practices, better commercial and marketing management and data collection. This package was presented on 12 November 2014 and is made of two simplified rules and three single authorisations. It aims to provide the insurance sector with a set of rules in the framework of the French data protection act. The single authorisation related to the fight against fraud came into force in July 2014. Consequently, the processing of data by insurers is standardised, due to its submission to a single regulation tool and so respects both the data protection rules and consumers’ fundamental rights recognised at national and European level.
      • Since 2011, French insurers are actively working to avoid new cases of unclaimed life insurance policies. In 2015, following the Eckert Bill, French insurers committed themselves to a series of actions including:
        - Seeking the provision of comprehensive information related to the name and address of both subscribers and beneficiaries.
        - Ensuring the clarity of the beneficiary clause.
        - Raising consumers’ awareness about the need to update their data and about the need to inform beneficiaries about the existence of the policy, etc.
        Furthermore, when using external providers to look after the beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies, insurance companies committed themselves to check the regularity of the conditions in which private investigators perform their activities and to include ethical clause into their agreement.
        - Since 1 January 2016, life insurers are obliged to provide information to the national data base FICOVIE, which aims to fight tax fraud, money laundering and terrorism financing. FICOVIE is a central database that allows the follow-up of the life insurance contracts in France. Companies have to provide information on the subscription and the settlement of the contracts, as well as their value. The information in FICOVIE will also be used to prevent new cases of unclaimed life insurance policies.
      • French insurers have made a national list of long term care insurance contracts, in order to better inform potential beneficiaries and to accelerate the settlement process. The professional requirement entered into force in January 2017. French insurers had previously committed to better specify the insurance cover definition, to provide yearly information to policyholders, and to put in place a capital revaluation scheme.
      • Since July 2016, all members of the FFA have committed to use standardised definitions of terms, conditions and exclusions when it comes to ancillary travel insurance products, in order to facilitate claims handling. This new professional requirement follows a similar initiative in 2015 in the field of mobile and high-tech “nomade” insurance products (such as mobile phones, tablets, cameras etc.).
      • The French Federation of Insurance Companies, FFA, is an active member of the Financial Sector Advisory Committee (Comité Consultatif du Secteur Financier). The CCSF analyses issues raised between financial institutions and their customers, in order to provide them with tailor-made measures taking the form of opinions or recommendations. In 2015, for example, the CCSF provided several opinions on the impact of the new sharing economy, on the application that allows insured to report their motor claims online, loan insurance and eurocroissance (life insurance) contracts. Composed equally of financial institutions, consumers, Members of national Parliament, qualified professionals, corporates and employees representatives within the financial sector, the CCSF is a unique forum for interaction between stakeholders.
    •  
      Germany
      • In 2014 the German insurance industry established an initiative to further train its intermediaries (Weiterbildungsinitiative "gut beraten").
      • The decision-making authority of the insurance ombudsman is a benchmark solution for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Germany, sparing customers lengthy and expensive court proceedings.
      • The GDV has developed many standard policy conditions on a voluntary basis. The association worked together with expert linguists in order to make general terms and conditions of insurance products easier to understand.
      • A code of conduct for insurance distribution has been established by the German insurance industry, defining standards for the provision of good advice. Approximately 90 percent of German insurance companies are participating in the codex. They agreed to have their compliance certified by an independent third party and work together with intermediaries who improve their skills on a regular basis and document such constant further training.
      • A reduction-in-yield (RIY) indicator was introduced with the German life insurance reform act of 2014. All life insurance policies must contain key indicators regarding the impact of all costs. In fact, this indicator was already recommended by the GDV on a non-binding basis for all life insurance products ever since 2011. More information available here.
      • The insurance industry has worked together with data protection authorities to develop rules of conduct to specify and supplement the Federal Data Protection Act. The voluntary self-commitment of the insurance industry to uphold data protection received the quality seal of the data protection authorities.
    •  
      Hungary
      • The Hungarian association founded the "Consumer Friendly Insurer" Award, which is given to the most consumer friendly company every year by an independent committee. The first "Consumer Friendly Insurer of the Year" title was awarded in 2011.
      • The Hungarian association also has a code of ethics and competition, which has to be accepted by every single member company. It has several references to consumer protection, including the ethical activity of intermediaries. The code of ethics and competition of MABISZ was adopted in 1994 and amended in 1996.
    •  
      Italy
      • The forum ANIA - Consumatori is a non-profit foundation set up by ANIA with the aim of facilitating and enhancing the dialogue between insurers and Italian consumers. Undertakings and consumer associations’ representatives are part of the forum, as along with other stakeholders not belonging to the insurance sector. It deals notably with welfare issues, education and training and insurance market issues.
      • In Italy the ANIA Foundation for Road Safety was established in March 2004 with the aim of developing solutions to reduce the number of road traffic victims across Europe by 40% by 2010. For example, the foundation created a project called "novice drivers" allowing new drivers to use an online driving simulator to learn about the dangers of the road, and to participate to safe drive courses for free.
      • The "psychological support for the families of victims of the road" project by the ANIA Foundation for Road Safety, which was launched in 2014 in Italy, acknowledges the psychological consequences often associated with physical injuries from of a road accident. Therefore, to improve the inclusion of road accident victims, it provides support to help alleviate the problems experienced following road accidents.
      • In Italy, if the benefit of a pension product is not paid in the case of a collective fund, the amount is transferred to the pension fund after a certain number of years. In the case of an individual fund it is transferred to a State fund created for the victims of financial breakdowns.
      • The conciliation procedure is a quick and easy solution for alternative dispute resolution, to solve any litigation between insureds and insurance companies arisen following a car accident. The initiative is a cooperation between ANIA and 16 national consumer associations. See also the section on digitalisation for more information on the online IT application that was developed to aid the conciliation procedure.
      • In 2015, the Italian insurance association published the ninth edition of its survey on customer satisfaction, aiming to analyse customer/company relations. The 2015 edition marks 20 years of continuous analysis of the relationship between insurance companies and customers. The ANIA survey has carried out a double function over the last few years: on the one hand, its objective was to precisely measure the trend of insured satisfaction, on the other hand its engagement was to contribute to the overall comprehension of the market and the evolution of values and citizens’ sensitivity. The 2015 edition recorded an overall improvement in customer satisfaction vis-à-vis the insurance, thus strengthening the already positive trend already illustrated in the previous edition.
    •  
      Netherlands
      • In the Dutch market there are about 60 codes of conduct and governance principles (self-regulation) that recently have been audited. A good example is the code which states that non-life insurance contracts can only have a maximum contract period of one year and that after this time the contract can be cancelled by the customer every month. A recent audit pointed out that all the insurers are compliant with this code of conduct.
      • On a yearly basis Dutch insurers take part in a customer satisfaction survey and publish the results publically. This allows consumers to see which insurance company has the most satisfied customers.
      • To make the multitude of existing and new initiatives in the Dutch insurance market more transparent and more effective, these initiatives were bundled in 2008 in an umbrella program called ‘Insurers Innovate’. More information can be accessed here.
    •  
      Norway
      • In Norway, the national representative of "FIN-NET" (extrajudicial complaint network for financial services) gives the possibility for the consumer to have his/her case heard out of court free of charge. A sectoral agreement states the decisions must be headed. If the insurance company does not follow the decision, they are obligated to cover the following court expenses for the consumer.
      • Finance Norway carries out a yearly customer satisfaction survey and publishes the results.
      • The Executive Board of Finance Norway has adopted standards for ethical business conduct for financial institutions (code of conduct) including insurance companies, in June 2015. The code of conduct states that Finance Norway shall focus on consumer protection and trust between financial institutions and the society.
      • Finance Norway has established an industry agreement for the provision of information and counselling about the transitions to paid-up policies with an investment option. This is considered important because it is the policyholder who will bear the risk if the value of the investment portfolio will be reduced.
    •  
      Sweden
      • In June 2015 Insurance Sweden issued a recommendation on the information to be provided to policyholders in connection to the portability of the accrued value of pension insurance. The recommendation includes special fact sheets for the comparison of the most essential product information relevant for transferring the value from one product to another, including both the present and the potential new product. The recommendation is based on a “comply or explain” approach and entered into force on 1 January 2016. The recommendation also contains provisions on how to avoid administrative obstacles in relation to transfers.
    •  
      United Kingdom
      • The Association of British Insurers (ABI) published figures for the first time to show pay out rates for the most common insurance claims made during 2013 and 2014.
      • It also launched the ABI’s Code for vulnerable customers at renewal, which seeks to help insurers/brokers recognise and potentially help vulnerable customers. This tool was launched in 2016 along with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).
 

Interactive tool: protecting consumers, respecting diversity

European insurers constantly innovate to meet consumers’ evolving demands and needs. In the interactive tool above are examples of innovative and consumer-focused initiatives by the insurance sector.

They were developed with specific national features in mind, such as the regulatory frameworks and local consumers’ needs, which — like companies — can differ significantly between EU countries. Insurance products and services are therefore not directly transferable from one market to another. Supervisors at national and European level should thoroughly assess regulatory, structural and cultural environments, as well as their existing powers, before considering new initiatives.

 

The benefits of insurance

Insurance Europe has developed a short animation to explain the role of insurance in our society and the contributions it makes to the economy.

Financial education

The European insurance industry is engaged in numerous initiatives across Europe to increase financial literacy and the understanding of insurance in all sectors of society, ranging from young children in schools to adults and professionals in the workplace, reflecting the industry’s belief that financial education should be a lifelong process. Insurance Europe urges EU policymakers and regulators to play a greater role in supporting the implementation of national strategies for financial education.

Publication: Financial education in a digital age Policy recommendations Financial literacy page

Insurance Europe also supports the Global Money Week. The Global Money Week aims to teach children and youth about money, saving, creating livelihoods, gaining employment and becoming an entrepreneur. Every year activities are organised to create awareness, challenge out of date financial policies and give young people the tools and inspiration they need to shape their own future.

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Contacts
Arthur Hilliard
Arthur Hilliard
Policy advisor
Ana-María Llorente
Ana-María Llorente
Policy advisor
William Vidonja
William Vidonja
Head of conduct of business