A top Central Bank official has rejected calls to extend the implementation date for its proposed ban on ‘price-walking’ in the insurance industry.
The move, announced last year, is aimed at preventing loyal customers from being penalised. It would mean that insurers could not charge longer-term customers more than they would charge a year-one renewal customer with similar risk and cost of service.
Speaking at the Compliance Institute today (21 February), Gerry Cross (director of financial regulation, pictured) said that the bank would be sticking to its plan to introduce the measure in July.
‘Degree of urgency’
He described comments made in a public consultation on the issue as “largely supportive” but added that there had been requests for the implementation date to be extended by six or nine months.
Cross stressed that the Central Bank had identified behaviour that was inconsistent with the interests of firms’ customers.
“It is a practice which firms should not be engaged in,” he said, adding that there was, as a result, “a degree of urgency about it”.
Cross also explained that the ‘price-walking’ proposal would apply to personal consumers in the areas of house and motor insurance, and that the regulator was not planning to extend it to other forms of insurance at this stage.
Final draft regulations on the measure are to be published in March.
Consumer code up for review
The Central Bank official also signalled that the regulator would be publishing a discussion paper later this year on a review of the Consumer Protection Code, which was introduced 15 years ago.
He indicated that the review would look at how consumer protection needed to adapt to take account of rapid technological change, as well as developments in EU consumer-protection legislation.
Cross also told the institute that the Central Bank had been working on the regulations and guidance for a new framework for individual accountability in financial firms.
He said that these would be published for consultation “very shortly after” the finalisation of the legislation on the issue.
Last year, the Department of Finance published the general scheme of the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021.