The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has just issued valuable updated guidance notes to help insurers treat those individual clients with criminal convictions or related offences fairly, in compliance with the law and with high-level standards.
The ABI Good Practice Guide entitled ‘Insurers’ Approach to People with Convictions and Related Offences’ was first published in 2011 and updated in 2014 to reflect changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. While the guidance is voluntary, ABI members are encouraged to regularly review their products and processes to ensure that their approach is consistent with it and in compliance with relevant legislation and regulatory requirements.
The Good Practice Guide has been updated to reflect changes to the law, regulatory requirements and insurer market practice, and also to take account of the findings of research and recommendations made by Unlock, a charity that supports people with convictions.
‘Insurers’ Approach to People with Convictions and Related Offences’ sets out that insurers should:
*Only ask about relevant unspent convictions (as opposed to spent convictions that don’t have to be disclosed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act), using explicit, clear and concise questions
*Make clear to customers the consequences of any misrepresentation or non-disclosure of criminal convictions that they’ve been asked to disclose
*Ensure all relevant staff are appropriately trained on applicable legislation and regulations and are able to respond to consumer enquiries
Mark Allen, manager of fraud and financial crime issues for the ABI, said: “The industry recognises that some of the 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record may face challenges when trying to buy insurance. Insurers want to be as financially inclusive as possible, and this Good Practice Guide will further help them treat those with criminal convictions fairly, including asking clear and concise questions where any unspent convictions may be relevant in a given case.”