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Insurance rules to become simpler

Cancelling insurance policies is reportedly becoming less confusing from spring 2012

CANCELLING insurance policies is expected to become simpler next year.

From March 31 Le Figaro says insurers have agreed to warn customers of their right to cancel a stadardised 20 days before the annual anniversary day of the contract. Information on cancellation will have to appear clearly and simply on the letter alerting you that this date is coming up.

The improvement is one of the key points to come out of an annual report by CCSF, a committee which works on relations between finance bodies and their customers, Le Figaro said.

Cancelling in the right time period and with the right formalities – usually a recorded delivery letter with a receipt slip – is important in France, as most insurance contracts are automatically renewed for a year otherwise. The then Economy Minister Christine Lagarde asked the committee last spring to look into simplifying cancellation conditions, which she said were “confusing and variable”.

The CCSF is also seeking to improve the quality of insurance comparison sites on the internet and will announce recommendations at the start of the year to give greater transparency.

It reports that other priorities for improvements should be measures to avoid people accidentally taking out insurances that double up cover they already have under a different policy.

As for banking services, banks need better customer information and staff training when it comes to advising customers on their rights to change banks, the CCSF said.

Concerning bank fees, which have also come under fire in the past for being too expensive and too complex, the committee reports that, as planned, banks all put in place this year standardised lists of the fees for the 10 most common services.

As for their rates, between the end of 2009 and July 2011 as many services became more expensive as went down, the report said. Those linked to the internet or text alerts went down but ones for basic daily banking went up.

Banks have made efforts to introduce “packages” that are more and more personalised, with young people the most likely to benefit from reduced fees due to these.

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