FCA to explore public liability insurance publication requirement

Out-Law News | 21 Aug 2020 | 1:15 pm | 1 min. read

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering the "costs and benefits" of introducing a new rule that would require public liability insurers to publish details of their current policyholders and coverage for the benefit of the public.

The regulator has responded to a recommendation by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which, in its report of September 2019 on accountability and reparations, called for regulatory changes to make this information publicly available. The FCA has recently published its own response to IICSA (1-page / 150KB PDF), dated 24 March 2020.

Charlotte English

Senior Associate

Insurers would be required to comply with any regulatory changes that the FCA may make in order to implement a national register, despite any reservations that they may have as to the practicality of doing so.

In its response, the FCA said that it "recognise[d] the potential" for IICSA's recommendation "to support our operational objective of securing an appropriate degree of protection for consumers".

"Before we can decide whether to make any regulatory changes, however, we need to understand their impact," it said.

The FCA said that it would inform IICSA of the results of its research once complete.

Insurance law expert Charlotte English of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said that the intention behind IICSA's recommendation was to increase transparency over public liability insurance coverage.

"Whilst the implications of this are not yet known, it is great to see the FCA engaging with the important work being undertaken by IICSA to understand whether the current justice systems provide effective accountability and reparation to survivors of child sexual abuse and the consideration of a code of practice that ensures fair and just redress, by potentially less adversarial means," she said.

"Insurers would of course be required to comply with any regulatory changes that the FCA may make in order to implement a national register, despite any reservations that they may have as to the practicality of – or challenges that they may face in – doing so. In that scenario, it will be interesting to see whether increased transparency in the products available will drive increased levels of competition in the public liability insurance market," she said.

IICSA recommended the creation of a 'national register of public liability insurance policies' by the government and industry. Its recommendation to the FCA would ensure that insurers are required to participate.

The register envisaged by IICSA would list organisations along with their insurers, period of cover and insurance limit, along with all relevant contact details. It would include all policies issued and renewed after the launch of the register, along with those against which a claim has already been made.