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FSA chief executive warns firms to be ready for GI regulation

He says: “We have developed new rules for general insurance in this area focusing on four key obligations on firms to treat their insurance customers fairly, be properly resourced to cover their risks, be organised and run with demonstrable propriety and give us the information we need to make sure they are complying with our rules.

“These rules will deliver positive, practical benefits for UK consumers. One of the obvious differences for anyone buying a regulated insurance policy after January 14 will be the Key Facts branded documents they&#39ll be given telling them about any significant or unusualexclusions and a clear statement of costs. Consumers will also be told whether it&#39s obligatory for them to buy the cover. The Key Facts brand, which also applies to documents accompanying regulated mortgages and investments, will help customers pick out the important information about the product expressed in a clear, jargon-free way. Firms offeringadvice will also need to make sure that what they recommend is suitable to the needs of the individual customer.”

Tiner says with the rules in place and the deadline for them to go into effect now little more than six months away it is vital that the industry is ready.

He says: “Businesses that are involved in selling insurance urgently need to determine if their business needs to be regulated, whether or not insurance is their main business. Firms that know they are involved in regulated activities should be deciding how they will respond to regulation. Many are choosing to apply to us for authorisation, which means they will be regulated directly by us. Others are choosing to become the appointed representatives of principal firms that are already authorised by us or of firms who are applying to us for principalstatus. And some firms may decide that they will change their activities to fall outside regulation.

“There can be no question of us lowering standards to get firms in on time. The deadline is already fixed in law. For the sake of firms who rely on this business for their income, and consumers who need the protection insurance offers, it&#39s imperative that the industry is ready.We have a statutory obligation to make a decision on a complete application for authorisation within six months of receiving it, so firms to be certain of being authorised by January 14, they should send a completed application form by July 13.”

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