On 9 February 2021 the Legislative Decree No. 187 of December 30, 2020 came into force, setting forth Supplementary and Corrective Provisions to Legislative Decree No. 68 of 21 May 2018, implementing Directive (EU) 2016/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution.
In particular, the Decree at issue partially amends the Italian Insurance Code (CAP).
Among the most significant modifications, it is worth mentioning the amendment of article 106 of the CAP, which defines insurance and reinsurance distribution activities1. Compared to the previous version, the new version provides an independent definition for each of the two activities. Furthermore, the new article 106 specifies that the reference to "advice" as an activity falling within the definition of distribution activity must be understood as referring exclusively to the provision of personalised recommendations to a client, at the request of the latter or through the initiative of the distributor in relation to one or more insurance contracts2.
Another important innovation applies to the regime applicable to ancillary insurance intermediaries. The new article 109 of the CAP imposes (also to this new category of intermediaries) the obligations of professional training for the purposes of registration in the Register of Insurance Intermediaries (RUI). Furthermore, the scope of application of paragraph 3 of article 119 is extended: it provides for the responsibility of the intermediary in relation to the distribution activity carried out by subjects operating on its behalf as collaborators registered in section e) of the RUI.
The rules governing cross-selling of insurance and not-insurance products have also been modified., The previous regulation3 only required the intermediary to provide an adequate description of the various components of the contract or package if the policyholder had opted for a separate purchase. On contrary, the new version of the provision at issue imposes the obligation to provide an adequate description of the various components in all circumstances and, therefore, regardless of the policyholder's choice to purchase the products separately. Furthermore, the new version of paragraph 5 of article 120-quinquies of the CAP now provides that the application of the precautionary and interdictory measures by IVASS is possible irrespective of the circumstance in which the complementary nature refers to the insurance or to the service or product other than insurance.
In order to minimize the duties of insurance companies and intermediaries, the Legislative Decree in question repeals the provision4 granting to IVASS the power to request, on a non-systematic basis, the transmission of the advertising material used.
Finally, it is important to mention the introduction of new provisions regarding alternative dispute resolution procedures for insurance disputes. In particular, the new article 187 of the CAP provides that the recourse to the Arbitrator for Insurance Disputes is alternative to the mediation and assisted negotiation procedures5
1 The new article 106 provides that:
“1. Insurance distribution activities consist in providing advice, as referred to in article 1 (1) (m-ter), on insurance contracts, proposing insurance contracts or performing other preparatory acts for their conclusion, concluding such contracts or assisting, in particular in the event of claims, in their management and performance, including the provision of information on one or more insurance contracts on the basis of criteria chosen by the customer through a website or other means, and the ranking of insurance products, including price and product comparison or discount on the premium of an insurance contract, if the customer is able to directly or indirectly conclude an insurance contract through a website or other means.
2. The activity of reinsurance distribution, also when carried out by a reinsurance undertaking without the involvement of a reinsurance intermediary, consists in advising, as per article 1 (1) (m-ter), on reinsurance contracts, proposing reinsurance contracts or carrying out other preparatory actions for the conclusion of such contracts, concluding such contracts or assisting, in particular in the event of a claim, in the administration and performance of such contracts.”
2 According to the definition of “advice” provided by article 1, paragraph 1, letter m-ter of the CAP.
3 Reference is made to article 120-quinquies of the CAP
4 Reference is made to article 182 paragraph 3 of the CAP
5 Regulated, respectively, by Legislative Decree No. 28 of 4 March 2010, and Legislative Decree No. 132 of 12 September 2014.