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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Insurers reduce liquidation fees

< previous | next > 21.12.2016

Insurers reduce liquidation fees

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) signed agreements on insurance products with investment elements with 16 insurance companies. They will reduce liquidation fees for these clients who were not covered by previous decisions of UOKiK. The agreements concern also seniors and they become effective on 1 January 2017.

In March 2016 the Office completed proceedings concerning unit-linked life insurances. The Office was questioning the collection of excessive fees in the case of premature insurance policy cancellation by the client. These fees sometimes entailed a loss of all client’s savings. UOKiK accused the insurance companies that the use of liquidation fees forces consumers to bear costs that should be included in business risk. As a result of the completed proceedings, the insurers voluntarily obliged themselves to reduce liquidation fees in existing contracts falling within the scope of the proceedings, as well as to delete them from new contract templates. These decisions concerned around 612,000 clients who have concluded contracts since 2014. However, due to prescription, they did not covered these consumers who had signed their contracts before 2014.

Therefore, the President of the Office drew up, in consultation with the sector, a support for the holders of insurance policies concluded before 2014. The idea of conclusion of agreements in that regard was presented by the Polish Insurance Association (PIU). The works were carried out with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Finance and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. The agreements concern: clients who did not cancel their contracts and seniors who concluded such contracts after 1 January 2008 and cancelled them after they had reached the age of 65.

 “We have been carrying out negotiations with insurers and PIU for many months. Our joint actions result in a reduction of liquidation fees for clients who have unit-linked insurance polices from the ‘old portfolio’ , i.e. from the period before 2014. The reduction depends on the duration of a contract – in example, one of the insurers will reduce the fee by 23% in the first policy year, by 9% in the sixth year, and will not charge anything after 10 years. We also developed special solutions for elderly persons, who were encouraged to buy a multi-annual police in spite of their advanced age” , says Marek Niechciał, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.  

Jan Grzegorz Prądzyński, the President of the Board of the Polish Insurance Association, adds: “The agreement was an initiative of the Polish Insurance Association, but it has to be underlined that it concerns the whole insurance sector. The solution is a result of significant efforts made by the insurance companies, which made it possible to meet clients’ expectations”.

Scope of the agreements

Becoming effective on 1 January 2017, the agreements concern the contracts that will be in force on the day of 1 December 2016. On this basis, 16 insurers will reduce the amount of liquidation fees. 

Seniors

The agreements also concern those clients who concluded their contracts after 1 January 2008, reached the age of 61 and cancelled them after they had reached the age of 65, bearing financial consequences. Pursuant to the agreement, the client will be entitled to receive a reimbursement of the difference between the liquidation fee charged under the previous rules  and the fee that would be charged under the new rules.The client can apply for such reimbursement within three years from the date of the entry into force of the agreement. The Polish Insurance Association will inform clients about details of this solutions in press announcements.

Next steps

All the insurance companies will inform clients about conditions of the concluded agreement. Any details about the amount of liquidation fees can be found on the websites of respective insurers. In addition to that, a summary is provided by the Polish Insurance Company. The President of UOKiK will monitor the implementation of conditions defined in the agreements.

At the same time we would like to underline that the concluded agreements do not prevent customers from recovering claims by means of civil law. A consumer who cancelled the contract prematurely can claim the reimbursement of the liquidation fee before the court. He or she may also assert rights after signing an appendix to the contract with the insurer as a result of the agreement. Consumers can receive help from the Finance Ombudsman. What is more, each customer having a legal dispute may apply for a relevant opinion in his or her case from the President of UOKiK or the Finance Ombudsman.

Additional information for the media:

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Tel. 22 827 28 92, 55 60 314, 55 60 111
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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