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26 March 2013
Decree-Law 1/2012 includes several new provisions governing third-party liability car insurance.
Article 148(2bis) of the Private Insurance Code, introduced by Article 32(3) of the decree-law, provides that – for the purpose of preventing and combating fraud – insurers must consult the claims database operated by IVASS, the insurance regulator. Should any suspected fraud emerge, the insurer may refrain from formulating an offer of damages and investigate the claim further.
With Provision 2998 of August 10 2012, IVASS has amended Regulation 31/2009, which governs the claims database. In particular, there has been a reduction in the terms by which undertakings are obliged to convey claims data to IVASS for filing in the relative database. The aim of these changes is to enable data to be processed more quickly. The changes came into effect on January 1 2013.
Article 30(1) of the decree-law requires insurers authorised to provide third-party liability car insurance to submit an annual report drafted on the basis of a form established by IVASS. The report must contain detailed information about the number of claims for which the company deemed it necessary to carry out investigations regarding:
On August 9 2012 IVASS issued Regulation 44 establishing the form of the annual report to be submitted to IVASS. On the basis of the information contained in the report, IVASS evaluates the effectiveness of both the company's corporate organisation and its claims payment system with respect to countering fraud.
The report form contains a section in which the company's administrative body must illustrate company policy regarding the prevention and countering of fraud, together with three further sections:
The regulation in question applies to both insurers authorised in Italy and EU companies licensed to carry on business under either the right of establishment or the freedom to provide services in the third-party liability car insurance sector.
Article 34(1) of the decree-law provides that intermediaries that distribute products covering losses resulting from the circulation of motor vehicles and watercraft are bound, before conclusion of a contract, to inform clients in a correct, clear and complete manner of the tariffs and other contractual conditions offered by at least three insurers belonging to different groups. Such intermediaries should avail themselves of the mandatory information published by the insurers on their own websites.
Subsections 2 and 3 of Article 34 respectively provide that a contract concluded without the client's declaration that it has received the information pursuant to Subsection 1 is invalid and liable to be raised exclusively in the insured party's favour. Furthermore, failure to fulfil the obligation under Subsection 1 will lead IVASS – at the charge of the company that gave the mandate to the agent (who will be jointly liable with the company) – to impose a penalty established by Article 324 of the Insurance Code of between €1,000 and €10,000; these lower and upper limits will be doubled in particularly serious cases or in the event of repeated offence.
Article 34(3bis) delegates the implementation of Subsection 1 to IVASS. To this end, on July 25 2012 IVASS published on its website an outline of Regulation 49/2012. The regulation will apply to:
The disclosure obligation applies to clients that are physical persons and to those that are legal persons.
The three estimates to be submitted to the client must be personalised and refer to companies belonging to a similar number of groups. Delivery of the estimates must follow from a declaration signed by the client before conclusion or renewal of the contract.
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