The Consumer Insurance Contract Act 2019 (CICA) was signed into Irish law on 26 December 2019 and came into effect in two phases; the first phase from 1st September 2020, with the second phase coming into effect from 1st September 2021.
What is the Consumer Insurance Contract Act 2019 (CICA)?
CICA introduces new measures to reform and modernise the law of both life and non-life insurance customer contracts. This means significant changes to how insurance contracts will operate in Ireland in future.
The main purpose of CICA is to provide increased protection, clarity, accountability and transparency to you as a customer.
All changes introduced by CICA, will apply to all New Ireland new individual and Group protection policies and renewals that come into effective on or after the 1 September 2021. This includes any claims which arise after that date.
At New Ireland, we support the aims and the changes introduced by CICA and have taken steps to ensure we are compliant with this legislation. This includes; revising our application forms, claims forms and other policy literature where appropriate. We have set out a summary below of the key CICA changes coming in to effect and the new requirements for both us, as insurers and our customers.
Key Changes from 1st September 2021
- Pre Contractual Duty of Disclosure of a Customer:
- CICA removes the duty on customers to disclose all material facts to their insurer and instead replaces it with an obligation for customers to only answer all questions the insurer specifically asks. This new requirement replaces the traditional duty on a customer to act with utmost good faith and provide full disclosure to their insurer, including volunteering additional information that may be relevant to their application. There is now no duty on the customer to volunteer any information over and above answering the specific questions asked by an insurance company. The only requirement on the customer is to ensure they answer the specific questions asked, honestly and carefully.
- From 1st September 2021, New Ireland will have reviewed and updated all our relevant application and claim forms, policy conditions and any additional documentation to ensure all questions asked and any relevant explanatory material has been written in plain and intelligible language (Plain English). This will benefit you, the customer, going through the insurance application process and claims journey as we will use much shorter, simpler and easier to understand language on our application and claim forms, and have a greater transparency of policy wordings.
- Proportionate Remedies for Misrepresentation:
- Customers are obliged to answer all of the questions we ask, honestly and with reasonable care. Where this has not happened, an insurance company may use one of the proportionate remedies for misrepresentation available under the CICA.
- The remedies introduced by CICA mean a proportionate approach must be taken by an insurer where there is any misrepresentation both at application stage and/or on the making of a subsequent insurance claim by a customer. These remedies will be based on whether the misrepresentation by the customer was innocent, negligent or fraudulent and may include, cancelling the policy from the start, refusing to pay any claim, reducing the amount of any claim and or reducing the amount of cover.
New Ireland’s Key Changes from 01 September 2021
To ensure compliance with the Consumer Insurance Contract Act 2019 (CICA) legislation, we have;
- reviewed and updated all relevant application forms and associated customer questionnaires to ensure we ask you specific questions written in plain English;
- updated all relevant policy conditions and important information documents to include your rights and obligations under CICA; and
- updated New Ireland’s claim forms and enhanced our claims handling processes to ensure we comply with our obligations under CICA.
If you have any questions or concerns about CICA and what this means for you as a customer, please contact your Financial Broker or advisor who will be happy to help. Alternatively, you can find further details of the full Customer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 at www.irishstatutebook.ie