Treating Customers Fairly
At Ck Specialty, our retail insurance brokers are at the heart of everything we do and we understand that the way in which we treat our consumer facing clients can alter outcomes for the end insurance customer. We built our business with retail brokers in mind because we believe in making insurance easy. From helping you obtain cover on a difficult to place risk to providing our most comprehensive offerings with admitted and regulated insurers.
While firms are required to develop their own TCF processes that will be suitable for their business model and customer base, TCF has the following six fairness outcomes, and firms will need to demonstrate they have the controls and measures in place to deliver on each of these in their day-to-day business dealings with the customer:
OUTCOME 1: TCF culture and governance
• Consumers can be confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture.
• Regulatory theme: fit and proper requirements for management, audit, risk and compliance requirements, board and committee structures, whistleblower protection rules, management incentives.
OUTCOME 2: Product design
• Products and services marketed and sold in the retail market are designed to meet the needs of identified consumer groups and are targeted accordingly through clear and fair communications that are not misleading.
• Regulatory theme: regulation of product features, charging structures, product governance and approval processes, unfair terms, undesirable business practices, regimes for particular consumers such as products aimed at addressing inclusion; and marketing and advertising restrictions and standards.
OUTCOME 3: Disclosure
• Consumers are provided with clear and fair information to enable customers to make informed decisions about transacting with the firm, its products and services. This means that product risks, commitments, limitations and charges must be transparent.
• Clients are kept appropriately informed before, during and after the point of sale.
• Regulatory theme: specific disclosure obligations, disclosure standards, plain language, language policies, electronic and telephonic communications, misleading representations.
OUTCOME 4: Suitable advice
• Where consumers receive advice, the advice is suitable and takes account of their circumstances, all the while balancing the commercial objective of increasing sales within the objectives of TCF and avoiding conflicts of interest.
• Regulatory theme: financial advisory obligations (primarily under FAIS), distribution models, legal relationships between intermediaries and product suppliers, conflicts of interest (under FAIS and more broadly), adviser remuneration.
OUTCOME 5: Performance and service against expectation
• Consumers are provided with products that perform as firms have led them to expect, and the associated service is both of an acceptable standard and what they have been led to expect.
• Regulatory theme: product and performance monitoring, on-going communication, reasonable benefit expectations, service levels, operational ability and capacity, outsourced suppliers, business continuity, record keeping, information security, fraud risk management, succession planning.
OUTCOME 6: Claims, complaints and charges
• Consumers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers to changing product, switching provider, submitting a claim or making a complaint.
• Firms need to honor representations, assurances and promises that lead to legitimate customer expectations. Legitimate expectations must not be frustrated by unreasonable post-sale barriers.
• There is a requirement for fair and consistent handling of claims and a mechanism to deal with complaints timeously and fairly. Firms should undertake to identify common underlying causes of complaints and take action to eliminate the root cause.
• Regulatory theme: access to information, complaints handling, claims handling, alternative dispute resolution, product flexibility, product portability, termination charges.
Treating Customers Fairly and Customer Satisfaction
These two are not necessarily related, it is possible that a satisfied customer has been treated unfairly and conversely that a dissatisfied customer has been treated fairly.
How TCF affects the way we do business.
The FCA accepts that firms operate in different ways and there is no set standard for the way in which we operate. It is our responsibility that we review our practices constantly in order to ensure that we are supporting the principle of Treating Customers Fairly and are focused on achieving the 6 outcomes.
The principle is present in all areas of our dealings with customers and includes the products we provide, our promotion and marketing practices, the sales process itself, the information we provide to customers and the way in which we handle our complaints.
Who regulates us?
Ck Specialty Insurance Associates, Inc. is authorized and regulated by the California Department of Insurance and other State Insurance Departments and Divisions in other States in which we operate. We are also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (UK) through our dealings with UK based insurers. Our permitted business is advising on, arranging and assisting in the administration and performance of a contract of insurance.
We are an Insurance Intermediary and as such we act as the agent of our client. However, in certain circumstances we may act for and owe duties of care to other parties. We will advise you when these circumstances occur so you will be aware of any possible conflict of interest. We will advise and make a recommendation for you after we have assessed your insurance needs. If we are unable to make a recommendation or offer advice or where your requirements cannot be fully met we will provide you with enough information to enable you to make an informed purchasing decision. We will assist you in effecting any changes that you need to make to your insurance policy, with the renewal of your insurance policy and with any claim you need to make.
Whose Products We Offer
In the majority of cases we will carry out a ‘fair analysis’ of the market in order to identify a suitable product. This means that we will compare products from a sufficiently large range of insurance providers in terms of cover, price, quality of service and other relevant features in order to select appropriate policies for you. If this is not the case we will advise you of the breadth or our marketing prior to inception of the policy.
We receive commission from insurers which is a percentage of the premium paid by you and allowed by the insurers. In addition, we may charge a professional fee to cover the placing and ongoing handling of your insurance.
From time to time depending on the work and risk involved it may be necessary to charge greater fees. The specific amount and purpose of any professional fee and administration charges will always be advised to you in advance. We earn the entirety of our commission and/or fees when your risk is successfully placed and take our commission and/or fees immediately upon receipt of payment unless agreed otherwise with your insurer.
Disclosure of Earnings
You are entitled at any time, to request information about earnings that we, or any other intermediary we have used, receive as a result of placing your business. In addition to commission from insurers, we may also receive payments based on volumes of business or profitability of the account placed with them. These payments can vary from year to year. Such remuneration is only earned on the basis that it does not detract from our obligation to act in our client’s best interest at all times.
We normally accept payment by check on a statement of account with our insurance retail insurance broker partners.
How we will handle your money
Our Non-Statutory Trust account has been set up in accordance with strict rules laid down by the various insurers with whom we transact insurance business. We are the Agent of Insurers for the collection of certain premiums and hold your money on a risk transfer basis. If the Insurers do not cascade Risk Transfer to us, we will ask you to pay them direct. In arranging your insurance we may employ the services of other intermediaries who are Authorized and Regulated by the various regulatory offices in territories in which they operate and your premium may be passed to these intermediaries for payment to insurers. Any interest, or investment returns, earned on your money whilst in our possession will be retained by us.
Mid-term adjustments or cancellations
In the event of an adjustment that results in a return of premium or cancellation mid-term we will refund the premium due net of our full commission and any charge made by insurers. Where the premium is being paid by installments, we will claim our full commission along with any charge made by the insurers in the calculation of any outstanding monies.
Cancellations due to premium installment default
If any credit agreement payment is not met, you acknowledge and agree that we may instruct on your behalf the relevant insurer to cancel the insurance and to collect any refund of premiums which may be made by the insurer and use it to offset any outstanding costs. Cancellation of the insurance policy will mean there is no cover in force should a claim occur.
While we take every care to check the financial stability of any firm with which we place business, we cannot be held responsible if that firm subsequently ceases to trade.
Treating Customers Fairly (TCF)
We set high standards for ourselves and it is our intention to treat customers fairly at all times. We have appointed Justin Connors, President of Ck Specialty to oversee TCF within this firm. If at any time you feel that you have not been treated fairly please contact us in order that the matter may be addressed.
Prevention of Bribery
It is our intention to meet the requirements of the Bribery Act. We have appointed Justin Connors, President of Ck Specialty with overall responsibility for the prevention of bribery. If, at any time, you feel that we have not acted in a way that meets the requirements of the Bribery Act you should contact us immediately.
Your Duty to Provide Information (consumers)
It is your duty to take reasonable care to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you do not, your insurance policy may be cancelled or treated as if it never existed or your claim may be rejected or not paid in full. It is important that all statements you make on proposal forms claim forms and other documents are full and accurate. If a form is completed on your behalf, you should check that the answers shown to any of the questions are true and accurate before signing the document. Failure to provide requested information to your insurers could invalidate your insurance cover and mean that part or all of a claim may not be paid.
Fair presentation of risk (non consumer clients)
It is your statutory duty before entering into a contract of insurance, prior to an alteration and at renewal to make a fair presentation of the risk to be insured and to ensure that information is provided in a clear and accessible format. Once we have collated the information about the risk copies of the information will be sent to you for checking. Every material circumstance known to you should be disclosed. We will expect you to make reasonable enquiries and proactively gather information however, where this is not practical you must make us aware, as your broker, that further enquiries are needed to accurately underwrite the risk. Any questions put to you in a proposal form or otherwise must be answered honestly, accurately and in good faith.
As part of our service we can assist you with any claim you need to make. When you first become a customer we will give you details of how you can make a claim and tell you what your responsibilities are in relation to making claims. If you are ever in any doubt as to what action to take in the event of a claim, please contact us at the address above.
It is our intention to provide you with a high level of customer service at all times. If you should wish to make a complaint about our service, we have a formal complaints procedure. In the first instance you should address your complaint to Justin Connors, Complaints Manager. We will supply you with a copy of our complaints procedure upon receipt of a complaint or at any time upon request.
Confidentiality (how we use your information)
All personal information about you will be treated as private and confidential. We are registered under the Data Protection Act and we undertake to comply with the Act in all our dealings with your personal data. Your personal information will be kept secure. If you require more information on how we use your personal data, please contact us and request a copy of our Privacy Notice.
This Terms of Business document is subject to California Law and the jurisdiction of Courts within the United States of America.
If you have any questions about TCF please contact us directly.