Telephone canvassing in insurance: a stricter framework from April 2022

Insurance brokers are going to have to follow stricter rules when it comes to cold calling. A decree issued pursuant to the law of April 8, 2021 on the reform of insurance brokerage and brokerage in banking transactions and payment services and published on Tuesday January 18 in the Official Journal sets up a new regulatory framework intended to limit abuse. The new provisions come into force on April 1.

“Between pure scams and cold-calling, there is a set of problematic practices that need to be stopped. I welcome the implementation of this reform, which gives the DGCCRF and the ACPR the tools necessary to effectively regulate the market and ensure consumer protection.”reacted Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, in a press release.

Summary of what the new law provides.

Obtain the client’s agreement to canvass him from the start of the call

Canvassing by telephone in matters of insurance remains authorized, but the canvasser (broker, representative or general insurance agent) must collect from the start of the conversation, and immediately after having introduced himself and having indicated the commercial nature of the call, the consumer’s agreement to continue the telephone call. In the absence of explicit agreement, he must end the call without delay and will not be able to call back afterwards. The conversation should also be cut short if the interlocutor shows an obvious lack of interest or his wish not to follow up on the commercial proposal.

Ensure that the consumer can enter into a contract

If the offer concerns a risk already covered, the direct seller must ensure that the subscriber or potential member can terminate their current contract at the same time as the proposed contract takes effect.

Respect a minimum period of 24 hours before signing a contract

Before concluding a distance contract, the direct seller must ensure that the client has received the documents and information required by law (contract, information notice, etc.). He must also respect a minimum period of 24 hours after receipt of these documents to contact the client by telephone.

Sign a contract

The subscription of an insurance contract can no longer be validated by a simple oral consent of the customer. The latter must affix his signature, handwritten or electronic. She will not be able to intervene during a phone call.

Once the contract has been signed, the insurer must inform the subscriber or member without delay, in writing or on any other durable medium, of his commitment, the dates of conclusion and taking effect of the contract, his possible right of renunciation and the procedures for exercising this right, in particular the address to which the notification of the waiver must be sent as well as the procedures for examining complaints.

Record calls

From this date, conversations between canvassers and customers must be recorded. The potential customer must be informed of this at the start of the call and if he refuses to be recorded, the marketer must end the call immediately. If an insurance contract is concluded, the telephone conversations preceding its conclusion must be kept for two years from the date of signature of the contract.

The client may request to receive a copy of the recording. In the event of a dispute, the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) and the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority (ACPR) may also have access to it on request.

If the client has refused the telephone call or if no contract has been signed within one month of the commercial proposal, the recordings must be destroyed.

Sanctions provided for in the event of breaches of these obligations

In the event of non-compliance with one of the obligations provided for in the new Article L. 112-2-2 of the Insurance Code, the direct seller will be “punished by the fine provided for 5th class contraventions”, i.e. a fine of up to 1,500 euros.

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