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Axa Insurance fined €675,000 by Central Bank for four-year breach of consumer code

The firm failed to insure that properly accredited people were supervising those handling insurance claims during that time.

FRANCE AXA SALES Source: AP/Press Association Images

AXA INSURANCE, THE second largest insurer in Ireland, has been fined €675,000 by the Central Bank for several breaches of consumer protection legislation and minimum competency standards.

The breaches took place over a period of four years and four months in total, between 2008 and 2014.

Axa deals primarily in motor insurance.

The Central Bank carried out an inspection at Axa’s offices in Derry and Dublin in November 2014 which led to the discovery of the breaches.

Specifically, it found that staff who were dealing with consumers in the company’s claims division were not being supervised by properly accredited individuals, and likewise that those staff were not referring customer requests for information to similarly accredited workers.

“The firm was therefore not in a position to ensure that its customers received the level of expertise and competence required to adequately deal with their claims as envisaged by the minimum competency standards,” the Central Bank said in as statement.

The staff in question dealt with 58,118 claims over the course of more than four years.

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Between January and June 2014 Axa claims staff failed to correctly acknowledge customer complaints within five days, failed to provide written updates to complainants, and failed to resolve complaints within 40 days.

“The significant level of claims being dealt with in (that manner) over an extended period of time created an unacceptable level of risk to consumers in the management of their claims,” the Central Bank said.

No individual instances of customers being directly affected as a result of the breaches was identified however.

The €675,000 fine represents the maximum amount the Central Bank was in a position to impose on the insurer.

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