Nanterre, 2 October 2018
How we sell insurance to half a billion European citizens is getting much clearer. Banks,department stores, automobile concessions and other distributors can implement the EU's Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) since October 1st. This is an opportunity for the distributors to enhance the sales experience for improved customer satisfaction.
The general features and attractions of insurance policies has became clearer for over half a billion people when the European Union’s Insurance Distributive Directive (IDD) comes into force this month.
The legislation gives consumers across the 28 Member States, from Ireland to Cyprus, a better picture of what they are buying from insurance distributors ; and insurance distributors a new form of obligation to understand consumer needs.
The aims are to better match individuals’ needs with the insurance products they buy; and reduce inappropriate selling.The IDD applies to life and non-life insurance,including products such as accident cover or creditor protection. It affects not just distributors but advisers and insurers themselves. Major players such as BNP Paribas Cardif, active in 17 Member States, have actively prepared for IDD’s arrival on October 1st. BNP Paribas Cardif sees IDD as a tremendous opportunity to better ensure that the products correspond to the customer’s needs , improve their experience of the sales process and equally protect the brand of distribution partners.“We are here to offer ongoing support in all aspects of the new legislation and its impact,” says Xavier Cognat, Director for Institutional Affairs at BNP Paribas Cardif.
IDD’s first requirement is to ensure that insurance products are sold to their intended target market. For example retirees should be outside of the target market of products offering salary protection. The responsibility of selling within a target market is ongoing and BNP Paribas Cardif is ready to assist partners establish a monitoring programme.
Secondly, each prospective customer Is presented with a simple document outlining what any insurance policy does and does not cover; where it applies; how long it lasts and other key features.
The official template for the Insurance Product Information Document (IPID) below gives a general sense of the tone and contents expected. The IPID is the protection industry’s equivalent to Key Investor Information Document (KIID) for savings products in the European Union. The IPID is designed to be transparent and easy to understand for customers
allowing them to easily compare features of different insurance products.
BNP Paribas Cardif provides the IPIDs to its partners, who are responsible for presenting them to their customers during the pre-contractual stage of any sale. Prospective customers must also be informed of the nature of remuneration earned by the distributor. The legislation seeks to ensure that the incentives to sell products do not conflict with the customer’s best interests.
On this point, it is worth noting that in some countries the rate of remuneration must also be disclosed (eg creditor protection in Italy, and protection insurance in Sweden). This is a reminder that the IDD is a minimum standards regulation. Any of the 28 countries in the European Union can impose higher standards, which means distributors have to divulge more information to potential customers, depending on which countries they operate in. BNP Paribas Cardif is on hand to help partners understand differences in national regulations and follow local best practice.
Customers must also be clear on whether they are being advised when buying an insurance product.
The distinction between advised and non-advised is yet another practice to ensure individuals are clear on the service being offered. In both cases, distributors have to document that customers’needs have been met. BNP Paribas Cardif sees this as an opportunity to build up customer profiles using the latest technology and is sharing its savoir-faire in digitalization, data management and algorithms with partners.
Howewer, digitalisation will not replace the human sales force any time soon. The IDD formalises the need for continuous training. Employees responsible for selling protection insurance (including managers of the salesforce) must receive at least 15 hours training per year. The training, depending on member states transpositions, can take many forms, including digital learning and classroom sessions. Derogations to training requirements apply for distributors selling ancillary cover for mobile phone or extended warrantee.
Finally, distributors should be aware of the effect of IDD on selling insurance products ancillary to a good or aservice as part of a package. The legislation favours transparency and customer choice. So for example where mortgage providers can require customers to take out payment protection, IDD prefers an openmarket choice over an exclusive restriction to buy the protection from the mortgage provider. To understand further how insurance offerings need to be clarified,BNP Paribas Cardif welcomes the chance to explain these new regulations to its partners.