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The Consumer Insurance Contracts Act (CICA)

The Consumer Insurance Contracts Act (CICA)

The CICA was signed into law in December 2019. While many of its provisions commenced on 1 September 2020, other provisions (Sections 8, 9, 12 and 14(1)-(5)) will not commence until 1 September 2021. Insurers entering into consumer insurance contracts in the Irish market will be impacted by changes as a result of CICA.

In simple terms; the act sets out requirements insurance firms in Ireland must meet when entering into contracts with ‘Consumers’, the changes made to these insurance contracts are aimed at supporting the Consumer as much as possible.

How does the CICA benefit the Consumer?

The motivation behind the government’s introduction of this piece of consumer protection legislation was to protect the consumer by reforming and updating insurance law for consumers. This is an act to prevent the insurer not covering the customer in the event of a claim.
The key components of the act are changing the idea of ‘insurable interest’, new solutions to avoid false or misleading information being provided by the consumer and for managing claims.
The act also gives underwriters the responsibility to request the relevant information when deciding what terms to add to the policy or whether to accept the risk. This benefits the consumer in the event of a claim as the underwriter must have requested all the significant details at the pre contract stage and ‘utmost good faith’ which involves the proposer disclosing any relevant information is unnecessary as all the important questions have been asked.

The act ensures that the insurer cannot decline a claim if the risk has been modified and can only decline the claim if the contract has been terns of the contract have been breached. This benefits the consumer as it prevents the insurer declining the claim on the basis of minor details not being disclosed or changed.

Changes that came into effect in 2020:

  1. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 11 and section 13, the ‘cooling off period’ was extended to 14 working days from 14 days. This gives the customer a longer period to cancel the policy.
  2. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 15, post contract it is the responsibility of the insurer to ask any necessary questions and for the consumer to answer them honestly. It is also on both parties to be honest at this stage and ‘utmost good faith’ is no longer applicable.
  3. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 21 to section 25, third party rights have been extended and changes have been made to the family, personal contacts and employees of the proposer’s rights to make a claim.

Changes that will come into effect in 2021:

  1. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 14 (1)-(5), the insurer will be required to ask clear and specific questions upon renewal of the contract and it will no longer be a requirement of the proposer to provide relevant information.
  2. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 12,it will be a requirement of the insurer to provide a list of the proposers claims in the last 5 years and a list of premiums paid inclusive of midterm adjustment premiums for the last 5 years. This is from once the contract came into effect.
  3. As outlined in CICA 2019, section 9, misrepresentation has been divided into three classes, innocent, negligent and fraudulent. A claim cannot be declined under innocent misrepresentation, however a fraudulent misrepresentation would result in a declined claim. A negligent misrepresentation can lead to either a declined claim or a claim being paid out. This will have to be investigated and remedies have been put in place to determine this.

The CICA 2019 can be viewed here.

If you have any insurance related queries or are looking for an insurance quote be sure to give the Insurance People a call today on 01 667985.