Central Bank fines FBD Insurance €490,000 for breaches of Consumer Protection Code

Thursday 15 May 2014 12.30
Central Bank concludes 13th settlement with a firm involving breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 since 2010.
Central Bank concludes 13th settlement with a firm involving breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 since 2010.

The Central Bank has fined FBD Insurance €490,000 for various breaches of the Consumer Protection Code, 2006.

The bank said that FBD had failed to ensure that it had resources and procedures, systems and controls necessary to ensure compliance of the code.

The 2006 code sets out the requirements that banks and financial institutions must comply with when dealing with consumers.

The code was replaced by the Consumer Protection Code 2012 and is a key element of the Central Bank's consumer protection framework.

The Central Bank said that from 2008 to 2011, FBD did not ensure that activities it outsourced to other entities were compliant with the 2006 code, while the company also failed to show that it provided effective staff training in relation to the code.

It also failed to show that it had disclosed to customers relevant information about an administration charge and the fact that it was recording telephone calls.

From 2006 to 2011, the Central Bank also said that the company did not provide some consumers with a terms of business document before agreeing policies with new customers, while it failed to have adequate complaints handling procedures in place. 

According to the Central Bank, FBD had given it a report identifying breaches of the 2006 code, and the bank then carried out its own inspection.

FBD "promptly" took measures to address the issues that were identified by the Central Bank, including additional compliance resources, the implementation of new systems and procedures and an enhanced training programme for its staff.

In a statement today, FBD said that "while it was obviously very disappointed that these breaches occurred, we are satisfied that they are legacy issues. We are pleased that the Central Bank has confirmed that the appropriate remedial action was promptly taken by FBD."  

"Most importantly we are confident that no customer was financially disadvantaged.  FBD will continue to work ever harder to maintain our high standards and improve our customer experience," it added.

It also confirmed that its new policies and procedures are in line with the new 2012 Code.

This is the 13th settlement concluded by the Central Bank with a firm involving breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 since 2010.

"Working to protect the interests of consumers of financial services is a key priority for the Central Bank," commented the bank's director of enforcement Derville Rowland.  

"The Central Bank views the implementation of proper systems and controls by firms to ensure compliance with the Consumer Protection Code as a fundamental requirement. The existence of inadequate systems and controls, incomplete procedures and/or a failure to employ effective resources is an unacceptable risk to the Central Bank due to the potential for consumer detriment, " she added.

"The pursuit of enforcement actions in respect of systems and controls failings has been part of the Central Bank's Enforcement Priorities since 2011 and, for that reason, where breaches occur in this area, regulated entities and their management should expect vigourous investigation and follow up by the Central Bank," she cautioned.