30 April 2020

This article was written by Ciara Davies. 

This applies for submissions that are due up to and including 30 June 2020 and also the Employers’ Liability Register compliance return due in August.

If the return is not included on the FCA list, it does not benefit from the flexibility and firms must submit their data within the usual timeframe.

For small or medium size businesses (that is those paying less than £10,000 in fees and levies in 2020/2021) the administrative fee for all late returns will not be applied until 30 June 2020 (this also applies to any returns not listed by the FCA).

FCA published its finalised guidance on coronavirus and customers in temporary financial difficulty

The FCA has published its final guidance for insurance and premium finance firms on coronavirus and customers in temporary financial difficulty. The guidance builds on Principle 6 which requires a firm to pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly, and ICOBS 2.5.1R which requires a firm to act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its customers.

Qualifying customers are those who are experiencing or reasonably expecting to experience temporary financial difficulties due to circumstances arising from coronavirus. The guidance is aimed at prompting firms to help qualifying customers by reducing the impact of temporary financial distress and ensuring that customers continue to have insurance that meets their demands and needs.

The guidance covers the actions that firms can take when they identify a qualifying customer as well as the circumstances under which the FCA would expect firms to grant a payment deferral. The guidance also sets out the FCA’s expectations of premium finance firms reviewing any interest rates associated with premium instalments.

After consulting on the draft guidance on 1 May 2020, the FCA has now published a feedback statement, summarising the feedback it received. With much support shown by respondents, only a small number of changes were made to the guidance. The amendments included:

  • clarification that firms do not have to consider an interest rate revision as a prerequisite to offering a payment deferral
  • flexibility for firms as to whether to offer a payment deferral period of between one and three months
  • clarification on how the guidance applies to different types of insurance contract and customer.

The finalised guidance will come into effect on 18 May 2020 and it will be reviewed within the next three months to see if it is still necessary in light of the developments around coronavirus.

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