appropriateness (COBS 10A);
inducements (COBS 2.3A).
[Note: article 25(3) of the IDD]
appropriateness (COBS 10A);
inducements (COBS 2.3A).
[Note: article 25(3) of the IDD]
each insurance product; and
significant adaptations of an existing insurance product,
[Note: first subparagraph of article 25(1) of the IDD]
whether a proposed change to the product would be a ‘significant adaptation’ should include consideration of the potential impact the adaptation may have on an existing or potential customer (when compared to the unadapted version of the product);
a ‘significant adaptation’ in relation to a non-investment insurance product may include, but is not restricted to, a proposed change to the insurance coverage, costs, exclusions, excesses, limits or conditions and any other significant change to the terms and conditions.
Manufacturers should take into account the following when considering whether the product approval process is proportionate and appropriate:
the complexity of the insurance product;
the degree to which publicly available information can be obtained;
the nature of the insurance product and the risk of consumer detriment related to it;
the characteristics of the target market; and
[Note: recital 2 to the IDD POG Regulation]
the potential risk, and possible levels, of harm to customers if the product design is flawed, in particular, due to the potential scale of harm if the product is intended for a wide target market;
the nature of the cover that the product is intended to provide;
whether the distribution arrangements could mean customers are at a greater risk of not receiving fair value from the insurance product, for example where:
where the insurance product will be distributed on an ancillary basis to another product; or
there is complexity in the distribution arrangements including the use of multiple parties in the distribution chain or reliance on persons not regulated under FSMA when selling the insurance product;
any particularly notable features of, or relating to, existing products (including how it has been distributed).
For the purposes of PROD 4.2.2R proportionality means that the product approval process should be relatively simple for straightforward and non-complex products that are compatible with the needs and characteristics of the mass retail market. On the other hand, in the case of more complex products with a higher risk of consumer detriment more exacting measures should be required.
[Note: recital 2 to the IDD POG Regulation]
3In relation to a non-investment insurance product, PROD 4.2.2R does not allow a firm to assume a simple product approval process will be appropriate for a product intended for a mass retail market even if the product and/or distribution arrangements are straightforward and not complex. For example, the potential risks and levels of harm which could result even from a straightforward and non-complex product, with simple distribution arrangements, intended for the mass market could mean that more exacting measures are required.
An example of a straightforward and non-complex product could be cover for a single item (such as mobile phone insurance), or in relation to a single risk (such as ticket cancellation insurance), with straightforward distribution arrangements. However, there could be potential risks of such a product not providing fair value and therefore potentially leading to significant levels of harm. Firms should ensure the product approval process has the necessary measures to identify and mitigate any potential risks and harms.
24(1) Manufacturers shall maintain, operate and review a product approval process for newly developed insurance products and for significant adaptations of existing insurance products. That process shall contain measures and procedures for designing, monitoring, reviewing and distributing insurance products, as well as for corrective action for insurance products that are detrimental to customers. The measures and procedures shall be proportionate to the level of complexity and the risks related to the products as well as the nature, scale and complexity of the relevant business of the manufacturer.
[Note: article 4(1) of the IDD POG Regulation]
3For a non-investment insurance product, a firm must ensure a product approval process has all necessary measures and procedures for identifying whether the product is, or remains, appropriate to be marketed or distributed to customers in light of the requirements in PROD 4.2.14A (Fair value for non-investment insurance products: individual insurance product and packages) to PROD 4.2.14SR (Fair value for non-investment insurance products: additional provisions).
24(3) The product approval process shall
(a) ensure that the design of insurance products:
(i) takes into account the objectives, interests and characteristics of customers;
(ii) does not adversely affect customers;
(iii) prevents or mitigates customer detriment;
(b) support a proper management of conflicts of interest.
[Note: article 4(3) of the IDD POG Regulation]
24(4) The manufacturers’ body or structure responsible for the manufacturing of insurance products shall:
(a) endorse and be ultimately responsible for establishing, implementing and reviewing the product approval process;
(b) continuously verify internal compliance with that process.
[Note: article 4(4) of the IDD POG Regulation]
25(4) Manufacturers shall ensure that staff involved in designing and manufacturing insurance products has the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to properly understand the insurance products sold and the interests, objectives and characteristics of the customers belonging to the target market.
[Note: article 5(4) of the IDD POG Regulation]
23(4) An insurance intermediary and an insurance undertaking that are both manufacturers within the meaning of Article 2 of this Delegated Regulation, shall sign a written agreement which specifies their collaboration to comply with the requirements for manufacturers referred to in [PROD 4.2.1R, PROD 4.2.2R, PROD 4.2.29R, PROD 4.2.33R and PROD 4.2.34R] the procedures through which they shall agree on the identification of the target market and their respective roles in the product approval process.
[Note: article 3(4) of the IDD POG Regulation]
each component product; and
the package as a whole,
The assessment referred to in (1) must include (but is not limited to) consideration of:
Where a firm is unable to both:
that the insurance product and, where relevant, the package will provide fair value, the firm must not market the product or permit the product to be distributed (whether directly or through another person), or must have ensured appropriate changes have been made so that fair value will be provided.
3In PROD 4, ‘value’ means the relationship between the overall price to the customer and the quality of the product(s) and/or services provided. The assessment of value must include consideration of at least the following:
the nature of the product including the benefits that will be provided, their quality, and any limitations (for example in the scope of cover, exclusions, excesses or other features);
the type and quality of services provided to customers;
the expected total price to be paid by the customer when buying or renewing the insurance product, and the elements that make up the total price. This will need to include consideration of at least the following:
the pricing model used to calculate the risk premium:
for the initial policy term; and
any future renewal;
the overall cost to the firm of the insurance product (including the underwriting and operating of the product) and, where relevant, any other components of a package;
the individual elements of the expected total price to be paid by the customer including, but not limited to, the price paid for:
the insurance product, including any additional features which are part of the same non-investment insurance contract;
the distribution arrangements, including the remuneration of any relevant person in the distribution arrangements, and including where the final decision on setting the price is taken by another person);
how the intended distribution arrangements support, and will not adversely affect, the intended value of the product.
3When considering the value of a non-investment insurance product under PROD 4.2.14A and, where relevant, PROD 4.2.14BR, a firm must not rely on individual customers to consider whether they are making fair value purchases in place of any part of the firm’s own assessment, in particular where an insurance product is manufactured to be distributed either with additional products or on an ancillary basis to another good or service.
3Firms will need to consider the matters in PROD 4.2.14ER and PROD 4.2.14ME to identify if there is fair value both for the initial term of a non-investment insurance product and renewals for a reasonably foreseeable period. What may constitute a ‘reasonably foreseeable period’ will depend on the type of the non-investment insurance product (including the intended term of any policy and the underlying risk) and the expected length of time a customer in the target market will keep the product, including in particular where it would be reasonably expected that a customer would renew the product on a number of occasions.
When considering whether a product will provide fair value for a reasonably foreseeable period, a firm should consider at least:
any expected change to the insured risk over time, for example in the nature, financial value or a customer’s usage of an underlying good to which the insurance relates;
whether the number of expected claims that may be made, or financial value of any such claim, would be expected to change over time due to the nature of the product, the customer’s needs or any relevant features of the insured risk, for example:
as a result of expected depreciation in the value of the insured asset;
where the customer’s need, or eligibility, for certain cover may change including as a result of features identified in (b) or where claims have been made;
whether the total premiums expected to be paid over the length of time a customer would hold the product would exceed the benefits that could be received from claims for example due to cover limits applying across the foreseeable period (taking into account any deductions permitted by the contract such as any relevant policy excess for such claims);
whether customers could be discouraged from or be unable to renew due to the level of ongoing premiums including increases at renewal meaning they may not be receiving the full intended benefits of the product (where these are intended to be spread across the reasonably foreseeable period).
3When considering the costs of, or associated with, any distribution arrangements, firms should consider the justification in value terms of any difference between the risk price and the total price paid by the customer including where the difference is mainly due to the costs (including remuneration) of any person in the distribution arrangements or where this is due to the combined costs (including remuneration) of multiple parties involved in the distribution arrangements.
Where a firm identifies that an insurance product, package or individual component has poor value or there is an unreasonable relationship between either the cost to the firm and the price paid by the customer, or the price paid by the customer and product quality or service provided, the product or package will not be providing fair value. However, a firm should not assume there is fair value simply due to the absence of an unreasonable relationship in the costs or where they identify an absence of poor value. Firms will need to consider all relevant aspects of value in the particular context and consider whether overall there is fair value provided.
Where a non-investment insurance product has negligible, or no obvious, benefit for the customer this will not be providing fair value regardless of the price of the product. For example, the product will not provide fair value where the cover under the non-investment insurance contract is significantly limited, whether by exclusions or limits on the amount that would be paid in settlement, meaning that the customer is unlikely to be able to make a successful claim or where the customer could conclude it is not in their interests to make a claim due to the disproportionate time or effort which would be required, compared to the claim settlement which would be expected.
When assessing whether a package provides fair value for the purposes of PROD 4.2.14BR, a firm will need to consider both the components individually and the package as a whole to identify whether there is fair value. This should include whether there is a risk that the individual components do not provide the same level of value to the customer when combined in a package. For example, where the package includes more than one non-investment insurance product, a firm should consider the type and level of insurance cover provided by each of these products and whether this would result in duplicate insurance cover that could detrimentally affect the value of the package.
3Where the manufacturer will provide, or arrange for another firm to provide, the option for customers to buy a non-investment insurance product using retail premium finance, it will need to consider if the additional costs of, or relating to, the retail premium finance have a material detrimental effect on the value of the insurance product when the two products are taken together.
the quality of that retail premium finance including any relevant factors and features. For example, any benefit that a customer could have from using retail premium finance including the ability to spread the cost of a non-investment insurance contract instead of paying up front, taking into account the higher overall price the customer will have to pay.
For the purposes of (1) the data and information a firm should consider using includes, but is not limited to:
information available to the firm internally including:
claims information such as handling times, frequency, severity of claims costs (including total costs and average per claim), claims ratios, rates of and reasons for claim acceptance/declinature, both expected for the product and/or any actual information from a comparable product; and
complaints data (including root cause analysis and handling times), both expected for the product itself and/or any actual information from a comparable product;
public information or information obtainable by the firm from external sources including analysis of similar insurance products available from other firms and, where relevant, data published as part of the FCA’s work on value measures in the general insurance market;
information available to the firm specifically from persons in the distribution arrangements, including:
remuneration and its impact on the value of the product, package or component part;
levels or quality of service provided by any person in the distribution arrangements; and
any results of monitoring and oversight of the processes of any persons in the distribution arrangement (for example, call monitoring or file checks) including in relation to other products that person distributes.
3The information that a firm will need to use for PROD 4.2.14JR will depend on the nature of the particular non-investment insurance product and (where relevant) the package, the particular distribution arrangement(s), the target market, the nature of any actual customer base, and any existing information on customer outcomes (for example claims experiences, outcomes of claims and complaints related data).
the actual costs incurred by the firm or any another person involved in the distribution arrangements;
the quality of any benefits (including of the insurance product or any additional products); or
the costs or quality of any services provided in connection with the insurance product or additional products, by the manufacturer or any another person involved in the distribution arrangements.
A firm should not increase the price of an insurance product based on:
unless the firm has an objective and reasonable basis for making the change.
A firm should not use an estimated final price to the customer to assess value that does not represent the expected total price to the customer including any additional products the firm expects to be purchased by the customer. For example, where the firm is responsible for providing or making available retail premium finance (the costs of which will be part of the total price paid by the customer).
3A firm must, as far as reasonably possible, ensure the distribution arrangements for a non-investment insurance product avoid or minimise the risk of negatively impacting the fair value of the insurance product or package. This includes, but is not limited to:
avoiding or reducing the risks arising from:
any remuneration of a party, or parties, involved in the distribution arrangements increasing, directly or indirectly, the total price paid by the customer without adequate monitoring or oversight of the nature, level and fairness justification for their inclusion; or
providing discretion to another person to set the final price, for example through a net pricing arrangement, without adequate monitoring or oversight of the final price paid by the customer;
ensuring that appropriate arrangements will be in place to identify if the actions of another person involved in the distribution arrangements would adversely affect the value of the insurance product or package; and
reducing the scope for the overall effect of any distribution arrangements to detrimentally affect the value of the products or package including where the cumulative effects of the remuneration of multiple parties unreasonably add to the overall price paid by the customer.
3Where the firm is considering the effects of the distribution arrangements on value it should consider whether the additional costs of any individual party in the arrangements that add to the total price paid by the customer deliver any, or a proportional, additional benefit. If not, firms should consider how they can be satisfied that the arrangements are consistent with their obligations to be able to clearly demonstrate fair value to the customer.
A benefit that could be consistent with fair value might include where the party’s inclusion in the distribution arrangements increases access to the product for customers in the target market in a way that is proportionate to the additional cost involved.
3A firm must obtain from any person in the distribution arrangements all necessary and relevant information to enable it to identify the remuneration associated with the distribution arrangements to allow it to assess the ongoing value of the product, including at least:
the type and amount of remuneration of each person in the distribution arrangement where this is part of the premium or otherwise paid directly by the customer, including in relation to additional products (other than where this relates to another non-investment insurance product for which the firm is not a manufacturer);
an explanation of the services provided by each person in the distribution arrangements; and
3In relation to a non-investment insurance product to be sold in a package with additional products, a firm must not set or increase the price of those additional products to the customer in a way that detrimentally impacts the package delivering fair value, including where this is done to minimise the financial effects on the firm of reducing the price of, or making other changes to, an insurance product as a result of the fair value assessment.
For each insurance product the product approval process must:
specify an identified target market;
ensure that all relevant risks to the identified target market are assessed;
ensure that the intended distribution strategy is consistent with the identified target market; and
[Note: third subparagraph of article 25(1) of the IDD]
3The effect of PROD 4.2.14AR and, where relevant, PROD 4.2.14BR, when taken together with PROD 4.2.15R, is that a firm will need to be able to show that a non-investment insurance product offers fair value to the specified target market, taking into account in particular their needs, objectives, interests and characteristics.
25(1) The product approval process shall for each insurance product identify the target market and the group of compatible customers. The target market shall be identified at a sufficiently granular level, taking into account the characteristics, risk profile, complexity and nature of the insurance product.
[Note: article 5(1) of the IDD POG Regulation]
3For a non-investment insurance product, when identifying the target market a firm must identify if there are groups of customers for whom the product or package would not provide the intended level of value identified for PROD 4.2.14AR and, where relevant, PROD 4.2.14BR.
A firm must take reasonable steps in its use of the distribution arrangements to ensure the product is not distributed to any such groups of customers identified in (1). The information required in PROD 4.2.29R to be provided to distributors must include a clear description of these customers.
25(3) Manufacturers shall only design and market insurance products that are compatible with the needs, characteristics and objectives of the customers belonging to the target market. When assessing whether an insurance product is compatible with a target market, manufacturers shall take into account the level of information available to the customers belonging to that target market and their financial literacy.
[Note: article 5(3) of the IDD POG Regulation]
The identification of the target market by the manufacturer should be understood as describing a group of customers sharing common characteristics at an abstract and generalised level in order to enable the manufacturer to adapt the features of the product to the needs, characteristics and objectives of that group of customers.
The identification of the target market should be distinguished from the individual assessment at the point of sale to determine whether a product meets the demands and needs and, where applicable, whether an insurance-based investment product is suitable or appropriate for the individual customer.
[Note: recital 5 to the IDD POG Regulation]
The level of granularity of the target market and the criteria used to define the target market and determine the appropriate distribution strategy should be relevant for the product and should make it possible to assess which customers fall within the target market. For simpler, more common products, the target market should be identified with less detail while for more complicated products or less common products, the target market should be identified with more detail taking into account the increased risk of consumer detriment associated with such products.
[Note: recital 6 to the IDD POG Regulation]
26(1) Manufacturers shall test their insurance products appropriately, including scenario analyses where relevant, before bringing that product to the market or significantly adapting it, or in case the target market has significantly changed. That product testing shall assess whether the insurance product over its lifetime meets the identified needs, objectives and characteristics of the target market. Manufacturers shall test their insurance products in a qualitative manner and, depending on the type and nature of the insurance product and the related risk of detriment to customers, quantitative manner.
[Note: article 6(1) of the IDD POG Regulation]
Manufacturers must consider the charging structure proposed for each insurance product, including examination of the following:
whether the costs and charges of the insurance product are compatible with the needs, objectives and characteristics of the target market;
where relevant, whether the charging structure of the insurance product is appropriately transparent for the target market, such as that it does not disguise charges or is too complex to understand; and
where relevant, whether the charges undermine the return expectations of the insurance product, such as where the costs or charges equal, exceed or remove almost all the expected tax advantages linked to a life policy.
In relation to a non-investment insurance contract a firm should consider whether, as a result of the charging structure it has put in place, the overall cost for the customer is consistent with its obligations under PROD 4.2.14AR (and, where relevant, PROD 4.2.14BR),3 the Principles and ICOBS.
PROD 4.2.25R should be read in light of a firm’s wider obligations under the Handbook which impose specific restrictions or requirements around what costs and charges may be permissible. For example, the rules in COBS 20.2 govern what may be charged to a with-profits policy when considering its charging structure under PROD 4.2.25R.
all appropriate information on the insurance product
all appropriate information on the product approval process; and
the identified target market of the insurance product.
[Note: fifth subparagraph of article 25(1) of the IDD]
any effect the distributor may have on the intended value that has not been fully taken into account by the firm when assessing value, and therefore which the distributor should take into account; and
any type of customer for whom the insurance product is unlikely to provide fair value.
28(2) Manufacturers shall provide insurance distributors with all appropriate information on the insurance products, the identified target market and the suggested distribution strategy, including information on the main features and characteristics of the insurance products, their risks and costs, including implicit costs, and any circumstances which might cause a conflict of interest to the detriment of the customer. That information shall be clear, complete and up to date.
[Note: article 8(2) of the IDD POG Regulation]
28(3) The information referred to in paragraph 2 shall enable the insurance distributors to:
(a) understand the insurance products;
(b) comprehend the identified target market for the insurance products;
(c) identify any customers for whom the insurance product is not compatible with their needs, characteristics and objectives;
[Note: article 8(3) of the IDD POG Regulation]
The information made available under (1) must be of an adequate standard to enable distributors to:
comprehend the identified target market for the insurance products; and
be able to identify any customers for whom the insurance product is not compatible with their needs, characteristics and objectives.
A manufacturer is not required to disclose specific information objectively considered to be commercially sensitive if the information it does make available would still allow distributors to meet (2)(a) and (b).
3For a non-investment insurance product sold on an ancillary basis to another product or service, for example a motor vehicle, electrical good or a holiday, a firm should consider whether the proposed distribution channel would be appropriate in light of the risk that the customer’s focus is on the core product rather than the insurance product.
A firm must regularly review the insurance products it offers or markets taking into account any event that could materially affect the potential risk to the identified target market. In doing so, the firm must assess at least the following:
whether the insurance product remains consistent with the needs of the identified target market; 3
(in relation to a non-investment insurance product) whether the insurance product remains consistent with the fair value assessment required under PROD 4.2.14AR and, where relevant, PROD 4.2.14BR; and3
3whether the intended distribution strategy remains appropriate.
[Note: fourth subparagraph of article 25(1) of the IDD]
the nature and complexity of the product;
any indicators of customer harm potentially emerging from the performance of the product (for example through claims and complaints data); and
the nature and type of distribution arrangements being used.
3When reviewing non-investment insurance products a firm may group similar products together where this does not detrimentally affect the firm’s ability to review each product appropriately. This includes the need to review whether any individual product, and where necessary a package, is providing fair value.
For the purposes (1) ‘similar products’ will be those products that are intended to deliver similar cover and outcomes for customers where the target markets are consistent.
A firm should consider the following factors when identifying whether it is appropriate to group products together for review:
the risk of customer harm for each individual product;
the complexity of each product;
the nature of the target market and existing customer base for each product (including the extent to which this includes vulnerable customers);
any specific indicators of customer harm emerging from the performance of each product; and
the nature and type of distribution arrangements for each product.
A firm will need to ensure that the grouping of any reviews does not impair the firm’s ability to identify any risk that a product is not delivering fair value or that there is any other issue which could give rise to customer harm in relation to each individual product.
27(1) Manufacturers shall continuously monitor and regularly review insurance products they have brought to the market, to identify events that could materially affect the main features, the risk coverage or the guarantees of those products. They shall assess whether the insurance products remain consistent with the needs, characteristics and objectives of the identified target market and whether those products are distributed to the target market or is reaching customers outside the target market.
[Note: article 7(1) of the IDD POG Regulation]
whether the insurance product, and where relevant the package, is providing the intended fair value to customers;
any impact which the distribution arrangements are having on the value including whether the distribution channels remain appropriate; and
A firm in (1) must:
ensure that it has sufficient, good quality management information; and
use all appropriate and necessary data and information available to it (whether it holds this information already, the information is publicly available or it is able to obtain it from another person),
to enable it to consider and assess value including the value actually being provided by the insurance product.
The information in (2) that a firm needs to consider whether to use includes, but is not limited to:
information available to the firm internally including:
claims information (such as handling times, frequency, rates of and reasons for claim acceptance and declinature, severity of claims costs (including total costs and average per claim) and claims ratios); and
complaints data (including root cause analysis and handling times);
public information or information obtainable by the firm from external sources including analysis of similar insurance products available from other firms and, where relevant, data published as part of the FCA’s work on value measures in the general insurance market;
information available to the firm (including what it would be reasonably able to obtain) in relation to any distribution arrangements through which the product is distributed, including:
3The information that a firm will need to use for PROD 4.2.35AR(2) will depend on the nature of the non-investment insurance product, (where relevant) the package, the particular distribution arrangement(s), the target market, the nature of the actual customer base, and the firm’s existing information on customer outcomes (for example claims experiences, outcomes of claims and complaints related data).
3For PROD 4.2.35AR(1), a firm should identify whether there is a risk to it continuing to provide fair value where there is a material change in the relationship between the price to the customer and the actual costs to the firm or another party involved in the ongoing service/distribution of the product.
27(2) Manufacturers shall determine the appropriate intervals for the regular review of their insurance products, thereby taking into account the size, scale, contractual duration and complexity of those insurance products, their respective distribution channels, and any relevant external factors such as changes to the applicable legal rules, technological developments, or changes to the market situation.
[Note: article 7(2) of the IDD POG Regulation]
3In relation to a non-investment insurance product, when identifying the appropriate intervals for regular review, firms will need to consider the requirement in PROD 4.2.34BR and also whether any event has happened or any issue has arisen requiring the insurance product to be reviewed outside of the minimum review period.
the assessment of whether that change would amount to a significant adaptation of the insurance product; and
where the assessment in (1) is that the change would not be a significant adaptation, the reasons for that decision.
27(3) Manufacturers that identify during the lifetime of an insurance product any circumstances related to the insurance product that may adversely affect the customer of that product shall take appropriate action to mitigate the situation and prevent further occurrences of the detrimental event. Manufacturers shall promptly inform concerned insurance distributors and customers about the remedial action taken.
[Note: article 7(3) of the IDD POG Regulation]
making changes to the product (such as amending policy terms or applying them more favourably to customers in the event of a claim);
proposing alternative insurance products, whether offered by the firm or another provider, to existing customers or distributors which provide fair value and which would be compliant with other FCA requirements, for example, ICOBS 5.2 (Demands and needs); and
withdrawing the insurance product from continued marketing or distribution.
3Where in the review required by PROD 4.2.34R and PROD 4.2.35UK a firm identifies a breach of any rules in place at the time, it should consider what may be necessary to provide appropriate mitigation and/or remediation of the harm including whether redress should be made. The firm should contact any affected customers where this is necessary to inform them of the issues and of the actions being taken.
28(4) Manufacturers shall take appropriate steps to monitor that insurance distributors act in accordance with the objectives of the manufacturers’ product approval process. They shall in particular verify on a regular basis whether the insurance products are distributed on the identified target market. That monitoring obligation shall not extend to the general regulatory requirements with which insurance distributors have to comply when carrying out insurance distribution activities for individual customers. The monitoring activities shall be reasonable, taking into consideration the characteristics and the legal framework of the respective distribution channels.
[Note: article 8(4) of the IDD POG Regulation]
3In relation to a non-investment insurance contract, where a firm identifies that the distribution is detrimentally affecting the intended value of the insurance product it must take appropriate remedial measures including, but not limited to:
the characteristics of each insurance product; and
the identified target market of each insurance product.
[Note: sixth sub-paragraph of article 25(1) of the IDD]
To comply with PROD 4.3.2R, distributors should put in place effective arrangements to ensure that they obtain sufficient, adequate and reliable information from the manufacturer about the insurance products to ensure that they will be distributed in accordance with the characteristics, objectives and needs of the target market.
210(1) Insurance distributors shall have in place product distribution arrangements containing appropriate measures and procedures to obtain from the manufacturer all appropriate information on the insurance products they intend to offer to their customers and to fully comprehend those insurance products, taking into account the level of complexity and the risks related to the products as well as the nature, scale and complexity of the relevant business of the distributor.
[Note: first sub-paragraph of article 10(1) of the IDD POG Regulation]
2EU 10(2) The product distribution arrangements shall:
(a) aim to prevent and mitigate customer detriment;
(b) support a proper management of conflicts of interest;
(c) ensure that the objectives, interests and characteristics of customers are duly taken into account.
[Note: article 10(2) of the IDD POG Regulation]
the value that the insurance product is intended to provide to the customer; and
the impact that the distribution arrangements (including any remuneration it, or another person in the distribution chain to which it belongs, receives) has on the overall value of the insurance product to the customer.
For the purposes of (1) and (2) a firm must consider at least the following:
the benefits the product is intended to provide to the customer;
the characteristics, objectives, interests and needs of the target market;
whether any remuneration it receives in relation to the insurance product would result in the product ceasing to provide fair value to the customer;
any potential detrimental effect on the intended value where the insurance product is to be distributed as part of a package with, or as part of the same agreement which provides, another product or service; and
where the distribution strategy involves offering, or arranging for the customer to be offered, retail premium finance, the firm must ensure that, taking into account the costs (including any charges/interest) of the retail premium finance, the customer does not pay a price that means, if seen as a package, the customer will not receive fair value.
any other additional product,
then the distributor should be able to demonstrate these arrangements are consistent with the aim of providing fair value to a customer and any package does not have a detrimental effect on the intended value of any non-investment insurance product.
have consistent target markets; and
provide cover in respect of the same risk and subject matter which could result in duplicate cover that could detrimentally affect the intended value of each individual product.
A distributor should ensure they have obtained, and taken account of, all relevant information from a manufacturer in relation to any non-investment insurance product in the package in order to understand the value, the relevant target market and any other relevant characteristic of that product.
The arrangements a distributor is required to have in place under PROD 4.3 are separate from the processes and arrangements the firm should have in place at the point of sale, including to comply with the customer’s best interests rule and to determine whether a product being proposed is consistent with the demands and needs of a particular customer.
3When assessing the impact that the distribution arrangements may have, a distributor should consider the effects of any retail premium finance it offers to customers including the relationship between:
the quality of that retail premium finance including any relevant factors and features. For example, any benefit that such a customer could have from using retail premium finance, including the ability to spread the cost of a non-investment insurance contract instead of paying up front, taking into account the higher overall price the customer will have to pay.
the firm receiving a level of remuneration which does not bear a reasonable relationship to the firm’s actual costs, or their contribution, level of involvement or the benefit added by them, to the arrangements for the distribution of the product, including where the firm provides little or no benefit beyond that which the customer would receive if they obtained the insurance product through another distribution channel;
the firm having remuneration arrangements which give an incentive to propose or recommend an insurance product which either does not meet the customer’s needs (or not as well as another product would) or is not in accordance with the customer’s best interests rule;
where the insurance product is distributed as part of a package, the overall price of the package not bearing a reasonable relationship to the overall benefits provided by the package; or
the level of any remuneration (for which the firm is responsible for setting) not being reasonably reflective of the costs actually incurred.
Contravention of any of (1) may be relied upon as tending to establish contravention of PROD 4.3.6AR.
210(5) The insurance distributors’ body or structure responsible for insurance distribution shall endorse and be ultimately responsible for establishing, implementing and reviewing the product distribution arrangements and continuously verify internal compliance with those arrangements.
[Note: article 10(5) of the IDD POG Regulation]
210(6) Insurance distributors shall regularly review their product distribution arrangements to ensure that those arrangements are still valid and up to date. They shall amend product distribution arrangements where appropriate. Insurance distributors that have set up or apply a specific distribution strategy shall, where appropriate, amend that strategy in view of the outcome of the review of the product distribution arrangements. When reviewing their product distribution arrangements, insurance distributors shall verify that the insurance products are distributed to the identified target market.
Insurance distributors shall determine the appropriate intervals for the regular review of their product distribution arrangements, thereby taking into account the size, scale and complexity of the different insurance products involved. To support product reviews carried out by manufacturers, insurance distributors shall upon request provide manufacturers with relevant sales information, including, where appropriate, information on the regular reviews of the product distribution arrangements.
[Note: article 10(6) of the IDD POG Regulation]
information on the distributor’s remuneration in connection with the distribution of the insurance product;
information on any ancillary product or service that the distributor provides to the customer (including insurance add-ons, non-insurance additional products and retail premium finance), which may affect the manufacturer’s intended value of the insurance product; and
confirmation that the distribution arrangements are consistent with the obligations of the firm under the FCA Handbook including in particular in SYSC 10 (Conflicts of interest) and SYSC 19F.2 (IDD remuneration incentives).
211 Insurance distributors becoming aware that an insurance product is not in line with the interests, objectives and characteristics of its identified target market or becoming aware of other product-related circumstances that may adversely affect the customer shall promptly inform the manufacturer and, where appropriate, amend their distribution strategy for that insurance product.
[Note: article 11 of the IDD POG Regulation]
the insurance product (or, where relevant, the package) is not providing fair value for customers; or
any aspects of a product or package that may mean it does not offer fair value; or
the distribution arrangements including remuneration structures may mean the customer is not being provided with fair value.
The actions which the distributor takes for (1) must:
aim to mitigate the situation and prevent further occurrences of any possible harm to customers, including, where appropriate, amending the distribution strategy for that product (and, where relevant, the package); and
amending its remuneration structures;
amending the distribution arrangements;
improving the quality of, or ceasing, any service or benefits it provides;
where the failure to provide fair value is due to the costs or quality of additional products, renegotiating the terms of the current arrangements relating to the additional products, or selecting alternative providers or distributors of them, in order to provide for a fair outcome;
ceasing to distribute certain insurance products (or where relevant, packages), or ceasing to use certain distribution channels;
contacting existing customers to inform them of the issues and of the measures being taken to rectify them; and
providing redress to customers.
Manufacturers and distributors should take appropriate action in order to avert the risk of consumer detriment when they consider that the insurance product is not, or is no longer, aligned with the interests, objectives and characteristics of the identified target market.
[Note: recital 12 to the IDD POG Regulation]
PROD 1.4.10G provides that, where PROD 4 applies, a firm need not apply the guidance in RPPD for matters covered by PROD, if that firm has complied with PROD 4. However, PROD 4 and the IDD POG Regulation does not cover all parts of the RPPD or wider obligations in the FCA Handbook and the following guidance, some of which is reproduced from the RPPD, remains relevant.
make it clear if that information is not intended for customer use;
ensure the information is sufficient, appropriate and comprehensible in substance and form, including considering whether it will enable distributors to understand it enough to give suitable advice (where advice is given) and to extract any relevant information and communicate it to the end customer. As part of meeting this standard, the manufacturer may wish to consider, with regard to each distribution channel or type of distributor what information distributors of that type already have, their likely level of knowledge and understanding, their information needs and what form or medium would best meet those needs (which could include discussions, written material or training as appropriate).
When reviewing the insurance products it manufactures, a firm should communicate to the customer and/or distributor contractual “breakpoints” such as the end of a long tie-in period that may have a material impact on a customer that the customer cannot reasonably be expected to recall or know about already.
Manufacturers should act fairly and promptly when handling claims or when paying out on an insurance product that has been surrendered or reached maturity. In doing this, the manufacturer should meet any reasonable customer expectations that it may have created with regard to the outcomes or how the process would be handled.
should ask the manufacturer to supply additional information or training where this seems necessary to understand the insurance product adequately;
should not distribute the insurance product if they do not understand it sufficiently; and
when providing information to another distributor in a distribution chain, should consider how the further distributor will use the information, such as whether it will be given to customers. Firms should consider what information the further distributor requires and the likely level of knowledge and understanding of the further distributor and what medium may suit it best for the transmission of information.
1In this section:
“value measures product” means
“value measures information” means
both the individual value measures data reported to the FCA by a firm as well as the value measures data relating to other firms published by the FCA, including that based on value measures data reported to it under SUP 16.27.
that in relation to existing value measures products the firm has effective procedures in place to ensure that, on a continuing basis, the product offers fair value to customers in the target market, taking into account, among other things:
the needs of the target market;
the value measures information, within a reasonable period;
any particular features of the product or the terms and conditions that may give rise to concerns about poor value;
appropriate product testing including scenario analysis and testing on consumers; and
the charging structure of the product including examination of whether the costs and charges are compatible with how useful the product is to consumers and the transparency of costs and charges.
that in relation to new products and significant adaptations to existing products, the firm’s product approval process in PROD 4.2.1R, product testing in PROD 4.2.22UK2 including considerations in PROD 4.2.25R and the review of products in PROD 4.2.34R3 also incorporate the procedures and considerations in (1) above.
manufacturers that identify any aspects of a product that may mean the product does not offer fair value, must:
take appropriate action to mitigate the situation and/or prevent further occurrences of any possible detriment to customers;
inform any relevant distributors promptly about remedial action being taken; and
where relevant, not bring new products to market or make any proposed changes.
manufacturers must regularly review the products it offers or markets to ensure they continue to offer fair value taking into account any event that could materially affect whether this remains the case.
where the firm is required to submit a value measures report by SUP 16.27.7R, that the firm takes all reasonable steps to set up arrangements with firms entering into contracts of insurance as principal in relation to those products, to enable it to obtain the value measures data required to be included in the value measures report.
that in relation to existing products it distributes, and any new products it proposes to distribute, the firm has procedures in place to consider, on a continuing basis, whether the product offers fair value to customers in the target market, taking into account the factors in PROD 4.5.4R(1)(a) to (f);
where the firm is required to submit a value measures report by SUP 16.27.7R, that the firm takes all reasonable steps to have arrangements with the manufacturer of the value measures products and/or firms or persons entering into contracts of insurance as principal in relation to those products, to enable it to obtain the value measures data required to be included in the value measures report;
distributors that identify any aspects of a product that may mean the product does not offer fair value, must:
take appropriate action to mitigate the situation and/or prevent further occurrences of any possible detriment to customers, including, where appropriate, amending their distribution strategy for that product; and
1Firms should take into account all relevant factors, including those in PROD 4.2.3G and PROD 4.2.3AG, when identifying the necessary product approval process and arrangements including, in particular:
previous product governance arrangements including reviews which the firm (or another person) has undertaken and the extent to which these would or would not have complied with PROD requirements; and
the potential level of harm which could result from the product in question.
Where a firm does not approve the continued marketing and distribution of the product, including where the firm has been unable to identify that the product, or where relevant, the package provides fair value for the purposes of PROD 4.2.14AR or, where relevant, 4.2.14BR, it must immediately:
cease marketing or distributing the product or package (whether directly or indirectly), including any renewal for an existing customer; and/or
make such changes as are necessary for the product or package to provide fair value.
A firm must put in place the necessary arrangements for the purposes of (1), including for:
obtaining any necessary information from the manufacturer;
providing any necessary or relevant information to the manufacturer;
understanding the product, identified target market and value assessment;
ensuring adequate oversight, including the ability to obtain necessary or relevant information, of any other persons involved in the distribution with whom the distributor has a direct relationship; and
the regular review of the product distribution arrangements including to take appropriate action in order to avert the risk of consumer detriment.