To pay less, individuals are increasingly turning to a broker, whether for a real estate loan, a consumer loan or even for insurance. A new reform further regulates the practices of the sector with the key to better consumer protection.
It is a reform which will have practical consequences for individuals. This Thursday, the Snat put an end to the reform of insurance brokerage and banking. Deputies and senators had recently found a compromise on this text proposed by the majority. In 2019, the Pacte bill already wanted to further regulate the sector. Except that the Constitutional Council had censored this aspect, considering that the article in question acted as legislative jumper.
Supervised telephone service
Concretely, the text, which applies from April 1, 2022, provides for a very strict supervision of the telephone service as recommended by the Consultative Committee of the Financial Sector (CCSF) in an opinion published at the end of 2019. This joint body, bringing together representatives of financial institutions and consumers, denounces, faced with the considerable number of complaints from individuals, bad practices and abuses by certain actors damaging the profession as a whole.
From now on, with this new law, one-time sales, namely from the first telephone call, will no longer be possible. The sales process will be initiated by the potential customer, only if he follows up on the business proposal. Thus, the distributor must obtain, at the beginning of the conversation, just after having communicated his name and the commercial nature of the call, the prior agreement of the possible subscriber to continue the communication. In the absence of an explicit agreement, the professional must end the call and no longer contact the person. But that’s not all: even after having obtained an explicit agreement, the distributor will be obliged to stop the call if the interlocutor shows an absence of interest or his wish not to follow up on the proposal. In this case, he will no longer have the right to contact him again.
If he agrees, the potential client must then receive pre-contractual documents and have a minimum period of 24 hours before scheduling any new telephone interview.
It is from that moment that he will be able, if he wishes, to sign the contract but only by means of a handwritten or electronic signature. No question of giving final consent by phone. This measure should, in principle, put an end to the practice, denounced by consumer associations, of the oral transmission by an individual of a code sent by SMS or of a sentence which was worth proof of subscription for the marketer.
Once the agreement has been obtained in writing, the distributor will be responsible for informing his new customer without delay by email or letter of his possible right of withdrawal and of its terms of exercise, without forgetting to specify in particular the date of conclusion and taking of effect of the contract, In any case, it will be forbidden to offer a contract for a risk already insured when the individual cannot terminate this same commitment.
To ensure that these new obligations are met, all telephone conversations made before the conclusion of the insurance contract must be kept for 2 years. A period supposed to allow the gendarme of the sector, the ACPR, to be able to carry out checks.
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While these new rules should protect individuals much better, by putting a stop to fraudulent practices, consumer associations are calling for the ban on telephone sales to be banned. So this is not yet the case. All the more so as this reform does not apply when the distributor is linked to the subscriber by a current contract, or when the latter has consented to be contacted.
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More supervised brokers
But this is not the only advance of this reform. The brokerage world historically not easily controlled, according to the report of the deputy Valria Faure-Muntian (LREM), will be more so. Until now, the tens of thousands of brokers were only subject to the control of the Prudential Control and Resolution Authority (ACPR), which has little information to target its controls on this population, the report points out. From now on, brokers will be required to join professional associations. These will offer a mediation service, will ensure that a certain number of professional requirements are respected by their members and will offer a support service and observation of activity and professional practices.
These future associations, approved and supervised by the ACPR, will play a complementary role to that of ORIAS, the body managing the single register of intermediaries in insurance, banking and finance, responsible for monitoring compliance with the conditions of access to the profession, and the ACPR, which controls the quality of contracts and information and advice obligations, explains the report by MP Valria Faure-Muntian.
Result, this reform is supposed improve, on the one hand, consumer protection by ensuring a quality service and a reliable and reliable intermediary and on the other hand, support for professionals, many of whom find themselves isolated, because they are not part of any association or federation offering them permanent regulatory monitoring in an increasingly complex environment and in full digital transformation, explains Astrid Cousin, spokesperson. word of the broker Magnolia.