The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published today a supervisory statement on differential pricing practices with the aim of eliminating price-setting strategies which lead to the unfair treatment of customers.
The price customers pay for insurance coverage typically reflects the individual risk profile and the overall costs incurred by insurers. However, some manufacturers adjust prices based on characteristics that are related neither to the underlying risks nor the cost of service.
Large data sets and increasingly sophisticated analytical tools and technologies such as AI enable manufacturers to deploy differential pricing practices on a large scale.
Of particular concern are products where premium increases take place repeatedly based on reasons that are not related to the risks or cost of service. These practices unfairly affect vulnerable customers such as the elderly, those with limited access to digital channels and those with limited digital literacy.
In this context, EIOPA’s supervisory statement clarifies supervisory expectations to pre-empt unfair differential pricing practices.
The statement underlines that providers falling under the scope of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) shall always act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of their customers. The statement also underlines that product oversight and governance processes should cover pricing techniques and ensure that these techniques do not adversely affect customers.
In view of the above, insurance manufacturers can continue to offer premium discounts to attract and retain customers, but they should have adequate governance and product oversight measures in place to ensure that customers are not treated unfairly. Moreover, the supervisory statement identifies certain ‘price walking’ practices that do not comply with the relevant regulation. Examples include but are not limited to repeated premium increases based on the customer’s low propensity to shop around or change provider because of price increases.
EIOPA expects competent authorities to assess the adequacy and fairness of manufacturers’ product oversight and governance procedures, sales processes, marketing and communication materials as well as customer complaints related to differential pricing practices and to take appropriate action in line with national regulation.
EIOPA will continue monitoring the market and may consider adopting further measures where it identifies consumer detriment.
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Check the resolution of comments following the public consultation
- Publication date
- 16 March 2023