Belfast Telegraph

FBD Insurance fined by regulators

An insurance company has been fined nearly half a million euro by regulators over consumer protection failures.

FBD Insurance has been reprimanded by the Central Bank and hit with a penalty of 490,000 euro for the mistakes.

The regulator found the company failed to ensure it had taken steps to comply with strict consumer rules for its intern operations and its outsourced business.

FBD had owned up to the errors and no customers were out of pocket as a result.

The investigation found the insurance company - in the market for 40 years and with about 500,000 clients - failed to give customers a point of contact and keep them up-to-date on the status of complaints.

The Central Bank said FBD did not tell customers they could refer their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman or switch a verbal complaint to a written one.

The company also failed to keep up-to-date records.

Customers were also not advised that loss adjusters, appointed by FBD, were acting in the company's interests.

The regulator said steps have been taken by the company to rectify the mistakes.

In a statement, the Central Bank said the penalty reflects the seriousness of the consumer protection breach, and said it was unacceptable for firms to outsource regulated activity without appropriate oversight.

Thirteen settlements have been secured by the regulator following breaches of the consumer protection code.

Director of enforcement Derville Rowland said inadequate systems and controls in a financial institution are an unacceptable risk.

"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 vigorous investigation and follow up by the Central Bank," she said.

Later, in a statement FBD said it had identified the breaches and reported them to the Central Bank.

"While we are obviously very disappointed that these breaches occurred, we are satisfied that they are legacy issues," the company said.

"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."

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