’The report raises significant issues for insurers and advisers and we will work with members to update our materials,’ says director 

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has “committed” to tackling economic abuse by “developing best practice guidance” to help the industry support victims.

A statement released today (24 November 2023) said the institute would with members to produce guidance that will use the case studies and recommendations from a report by the Surviving Economic Abuse group.

Published earlier this month (8 November 2023), the report, entitled The Challenges Faced by Victim Survivors of Economic Abuse in Accessing and Ending Life Insurance Protection’, highlighted research by Aviva that showed two in five British adults have experienced a form of economic or financial abuse at some point during their lives.

It recommended that organisations should develop an “industry-led code of best practice regarding how firms can support victims-survivors”.

Sara D’Arcy, head of advocacy and communications at Surviving Economic Abuse, said: Perpetrators of domestic abuse use every means possible to control a partner or ex-partner, including taking out life insurance policies to threaten victim-survivors and financially benefit from their deaths even after separation.

”In the worst cases, some abusers have used the financial benefits of taking out life insurance as an incentive to kill a victim.

”We are pleased that the CII has committed to tackling this issue by developing best practice guidance to help firms and practitioners support economic abuse victim-survivors. We welcome the opportunity to support the CII in producing the guidance and continue to raise awareness of this important issue.”

Consumer Duty

Meanwhile, the CII said that the report would also allow it to enhance its support for members on implementing Consumer Duty guidelines.

The duty, which came into force earlier this year (31 July 2023), requires companies in the sector to ensure that their products provide fair value to customers.

Surviving Economic Abuse said in its report that under the Consumer Duty, insurance providers ”have an obligation to prevent foreseeable harm to vulnerable customers, including victim-survivors of economic abuse, through their products and services”.

A vulnerable customer – according to the FCA’s guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers – is “someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm – particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care”.

Matthew Connell, director of policy and public affairs at the CII, said: “The report raises significant issues for insurers and advisers and we will work with members to update our materials, to reflect the insights shared in this report.

”The Consumer Duty places a high priority on the treatment of potentially vulnerable groups and this report will allow us to evolve our support for members on the implementation of Consumer Duty guidelines.”