Compliance Newsletter – April 2020

The FCA has issued a ‘Dear CEO’ letter to insurers and brokers asking them to ensure that SME policyholders are treated fairly when dealing with legitimate business interruption claims caused by Covid-19. While the regulator acknowledges that most policies will not cover coronavirus-related claims, it expects firms to support any customers who may be unclear as to whether or not they have cover.

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The FCA is regularly updating its coronavirus information page for firms with news items and updates on delayed publications.

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The FCA has clarified its expectations of senior managersduring the coronavirus crisis in terms of assessing emerging and existing risks. It has also made a concession that temporary arrangements to cover absences or change senior manager responsibilities in direct response to the pandemic do not need to be notified to the regulator, but they should still be documented internally.

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The FCA has published some high-level guidance to firms on work-related travel whilst government restrictions are in force. It also expects a Senior Manager to assume responsibility for decisions as to which staff are physically required in the office, if applicable.

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The FCA has clarified its expectations of firms who are facing operational difficulties from a CASS perspective.

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Lloyd’s has created a new information hub from which it aims to provide the Lloyd’s market community with the latest guidance and updates in relation to Covid-19.

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The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has issued advice about cyber criminals exploiting Covid-19 through ransomware and malware.

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FCA publishes its Business Plan 2020/21

The FCA’s latest Business Plan gives details of the regulator’s key priorities over the next three years, and its planned activities for the next year, while recognising there may be delays caused by Covid-19. For the general insurance sector the focus is on product value and distribution chains, pricing practices, access to insurance and operational resilience.

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New travel insurance signposting rules delayed

The FCA has announced that it is delaying the implementation of the rules (which were originally due to come into force on 5 November 2020) until it has more clarity on the impact of the coronavirus. However the rules on publicising a medical cover firm directory will still come into effect on 1 June 2020. The FCA has also clarified certain definitions which some stakeholders had argued were ambiguous.

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FCA consults on regulatory fees 2020/21

The FCA is proposing to apply a 3% increase in its annual fee requirement for general insurance intermediaries; however, smaller firms paying the minimum fee will see no increase. The consultation closes on 19 May 2020.

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FOS round-up

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on firms, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has asked the FCA to freeze all minimum 2020/21 levies, at the same time as deciding to maintain the number of ‘free’ cases allowed for most firms at 25 per year.

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The latest edition of Ombudsman News contains details of resources the FOS has brought together to help businesses resolve and prevent complaints arising from Covid-19, with particular regard to travel, business interruption and wedding insurance. It also provides data on complaints against businesses for the last half of 2019.

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Registration opens for GABRIEL’s replacement

The FCA is due to replace GABRIEL later this year with a new data collection platform. Firms will be notified by the regulator about their moving date in due course.

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The information provided in this Newsletter is based on the Managing General Agents’ Association’s knowledge and understanding of regulatory issues at the date of publication. However, it is generic in content, and matters in UK regulation change regularly. Members should take their own professional advice in connection with any issues which could affect their business. The Managing General Agents’ Association accepts no responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Newsletter.

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