Key recommendations have issued today from the Central Bank based on its first thematic inspection of four health insurance providers. The inspection focused on Consumer Protection, one of the Central Bank's main Supervisory and Enforcement Priorities for 2016.
Following today's announcement, as a Health Insurer you must now:
- enhance the information provided in policy renewal notices to clearly explain to consumers that their policy will auto-renew if contact is not made by them prior to renewal date; and
- Encourage consumers to make contact during the renewal process to discuss other potentially more suitable policies.
The inspection revealed that three providers’ websites do not offer consumers policies from their full range of available policies when recommending a policy.
The Central Bank is pursuing those providers regarding the process of gathering information for website quotations and the range of policies offered online.
The Central Bank has stated that it will carry out further supervisory work in the industry later this year.
Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan said: “In June 2015 the Central Bank became responsible for the regulation of all the health insurance providers in Ireland for the first time. Since then, we have undertaken on-site supervisory work and consumer research to deepen our understanding of how the health insurance market is working for consumers and, in particular, how consumers are being treated at the crucial time of policy renewal. We found that consumers find it difficult to compare policies and most consumers renew the same policy with the same provider.