On 2 April 2020, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten, the AFM) published a news item emphasising the statement issued by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to insurers and intermediaries, urging them to take steps to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus/COVID-19 on consumers.
Insurers and intermediaries are asked to:
- provide clear and timely information to consumers on contractual rights;
- treat consumers fairly and be explicit in all communications;
- inform consumers about contingency measures taken;
- continue applying product oversight and governance requirements and, where necessary, carry out a product review; and
- consider the interests of consumers and exercise flexibility in how they are treated, where reasonable and practicable.
In addition, EIOPA has indicated that it is important that consumers continue to be treated fairly, and that consumers still rely on insurance during this difficult time and it is essential that insurers continue to provide access to and continuity of service.
Whilst highlighting the need for flexibility in the interest of consumers and for their continued fair treatment, EIOPA also highlights that imposing retroactive coverage of claims not envisaged within contracts could create material solvency risks and ultimately threaten policyholder protection.