Customers of insurers who are struggling financially because of the corona virus can request payment holidays from next week.
Some customers with financial problems may also be able to switch to a cheaper deal or get a partial refund.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed temporary relief for customers, which will take effect on Monday, May 18, and will be reviewed over the next three months.
It said that customers’ risk profiles may have changed due to the corona virus and there may be scope to offer customers substantially lower premiums.
This payment deferral should be granted for a period of one to three months, although companies can go longer than three months.
The FCA said that customers should be able to request a payment holiday at any time up to August 18, while the window for requesting deferred payment is open.
You don’t have to suffer in silence when you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact if you need help:
Samaritans: Call 116 123 24 hours a day or send an email to [email protected]
Childline: telephone 0800 1111. Calling is free and will not be mentioned on your invoice
PAPYRUS: A volunteer organization that supports suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: a good cause for people with depression. Not a helpline but provides useful resources and links to other information website
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, in a bad mood or are suicidal. Click here attend
Bullying in the UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who feel unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
When this is not considered appropriate, companies should provide customers with other forms of relief, such as accepting reduced refunds or rescheduling, waiving missed or late payment fees, or allowing a customer to change their refund date free of charge .
The FCA said that companies should consider whether other products are available that are better for customers’ needs and should review coverage accordingly.
The regulator said that customers who are struggling to pay for their insurance or premium financing because of the effects of the coronavirus should contact their insurer or insurance broker to discuss their options – and not be uninsured.
Customers who pay in installments that still struggle despite any reductions should be able to get a payment vacation from their insurer unless it is clearly not in the customer’s interest to do so, the FCA said.
Sheldon Mills, FCA’s interim director of Strategy and Competition, said, “Many companies in the insurance industry have already implemented some of the actions we propose here to support customers, such as premium discounts, rebates, waiver and payment deferral.
“The measures confirmed today will urgently support those who need it.”