ABI issues revised guidelines to help insurers deal with clients’ criminal convictions

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:

Mark Allen

Mark Allen

*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.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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