Insurers given guidance on treating people with criminal convictions fairly

Insurers have been given updated guidance to help ensure they treat people with criminal convictions fairly and in compliance with the law.

There are more than 11 million people in the UK with criminal convictions and some people with convictions and related offences encounter difficulties when looking for insurance or making a claim.

Published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the ABI Good Practice Guide ‘Insurers’ Approach to People with Convictions and Related Offences’ is designed to help insurers make sure their processes and procedures comply with, and exceed where appropriate, legal and regulatory requirements.

It was first published in 2011 and was last updated in 2014 to reflect changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

The latest version of the guide reflects more recent changes to the law, regulatory requirements and insurer market practice.

It also takes account of research and recommendations by Unlock, a charity that supports people with convictions.

The guide sets out that insurers should:

  • Only ask about relevant unspent convictions (as opposed to spent convictions that do not have to be disclosed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act), using explicit, clear and concise questions.
  • Make clear to customers the consequences of any misrepresentation or non-disclosure of criminal convictions that they have been asked to disclose.
  • Ensure all relevant staff are appropriately trained on applicable legislation and regulations and are able to respond to consumer enquiries.

“The industry recognises that some of the 11 million people in the UK with a criminal record may face challenges when trying to buy insurance,” said Mark Allen, manager of fraud and financial crime at the ABI. “Insurers want to be as financially inclusive as possible, and this guide will further help them treat those with criminal convictions fairly, including asking clear and concise questions where any unspent convictions may be relevant.

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