Executive summary :
EIOPA recognises the unprecedented situation which has arisen as a result of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak and is closely monitoring the situation as it continues to cause disruption to households and businesses across Europe.
Notably, EIOPA has published:
- A statement on actions to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus/COVID-19 on the EU insurance sector; and
- Recommendations on supervisory flexibility regarding deadlines of supervisory reporting and public disclosure by insurers.
Insurers as well as insurance intermediaries and ancillary insurance intermediaries (hereafter “intermediaries”), play an important role in enabling consumers to manage their risks by providing protection against uncertainties. Access to and continuity of insurance services should be considered essential in the context of the outbreak.
EIOPA welcomes the initiatives already taken by insurers and intermediaries to support and assist consumers, and the consideration being shown towards consumers affected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19, including those who are particularly vulnerable.
Nevertheless, the scale and depth of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak could undermine trust in the sector if the fair treatment of consumers does not remain at the heart of the sector’s responses. It is critical that insurers and intermediaries continue focusing on ensuring business continuity and the fair treatment of consumers.
In doing this, EIOPA strongly encourages insurers and intermediaries to take into consideration various practical implications of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 for the day-to-day activities of consumers, in particular with regard to the social distancing and self-isolation measures that are now in place. In the current environment, consumers may not be able to fulfil contractual obligations or may be forced to change their normal behaviour. Examples, which should not be interpreted as exhaustive, include:
- Not being able to submit a claim within a prescribed timeframe;
- Not being able to carry out a check (e.g. a car check-up or a medical check-up);
- Using their usual residence as a workspace, which may be in breach of their household policy.
EIOPA expects all market participants to continue to act in the best interests of consumers, throughout the lifecycle of their relationship with the consumer. This is in line with the requirements on policyholder protection set out in relevant legislation such as Directive 2016/97 on Insurance Distribution (IDD) and Directive 2009/138/EC (Solvency II Directive).
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