Italy: IVASS consults to amend certain provisions regarding insurance distribution

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IVASS has launched a public consultation in order to amend certain provisions of IVASS Regulation No. 40/2018 on insurance and reinsurance distribution, in particular regarding professional requirements of insurance intermediaries and new reporting obligation with respect to the internet domain used for the promotion and placement of insurance contracts through techniques of distance communication.

On 24 June 2022, IVASS launched a public consultation on a draft regulation providing certain amendments to IVASS Regulation No. 40/2018 on insurance and reinsurance distribution (the “Draft Regulation”).

The Draft Regulation aims, in particular, at:

  • adapting to the Italian primary legislation in force the content of the provisions currently providing for the obligation for insurance intermediaries to obtain a qualification of not less than the upper secondary education diploma achieved following a five-year course or a four-year course supplemented by the annual course required by law, or an equivalent foreign qualification;
  • introducing the obligation to notify IVASS of the internet domain used for the promotion and placement of insurance contracts through techniques of distance communication by Italian insurance intermediaries and EU insurance intermediaries operating in Italy.

Professional requirements

With regard to point 1) above, IVASS Regulation No. 40/2018 currently provides for the requirement, among others, to obtain a qualification of not less than the upper secondary education diploma achieved following a five-year course or a four-year course supplemented by the annual course required by law, or an equivalent foreign qualification, for the following purposes:

  • enrolment in section C (direct canvassers), E (staff and collaborators of insurance intermediaries involved in distribution outside their premises) and F (ancillary insurance intermediaries) of the Register of Insurance Intermediaries kept by IVASS (“RUI”);
  • appointment as the responsible person for insurance or reinsurance distribution of companies acting as distributors;
  • exercise of the distribution activity by the employees working within the intermediary's premises; and
  • participation to the test for enrolment in sections A (agents) and B (brokers) of the RUI.

By means of the new regulatory intervention, the reference to the duration of the course and the supplementary year with reference to the possession of an upper secondary school diploma would be eliminated in order to make the provision consistent with the current Italian school system, which also provides for the possibility of completing a course of higher studies in four years, while keeping the total number of hours of attendance unchanged.

Furthermore, with respect to the equivalent foreign qualification, the regulatory intervention takes into account the provisions of Law no. 148 of 11 July 2002 (by which Italy ratified the Lisbon Convention - Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, Lisbon 11 April 1997), which assigns responsibility for the recognition of foreign qualifications - for purposes other than the pursuit of university studies and the achievement of Italian university degrees - to the Administrations concerned.

In this context, the concept of equivalence would therefore be superseded and replaced with the term "corresponding foreign qualification".

Internet domain

With regard to point 2) above, IVASS Regulation No. 40/2018 currently provides that distributors which carry out activities of promotion and placement of insurance products through websites shall own the relevant domain. The provision, aimed at ensuring an adequate level of consumer protection, is included in the List of General Good Provisions published on IVASS website in order to define the perimeter of the provisions with which EU intermediaries operating in Italy under right of establishment and freedom of services regimes are also required to comply.

The Draft Regulation - which would amend such provision by also introducing the obligation for Italian insurance intermediaries enrolled in the RUI and EU insurance intermediaries enrolled in the List attached to the same to notify IVASS of the internet domain used - is intended to strengthen the safeguards currently in force through the acquisition of full information on the ways in which insurance contracts are placed and promoted via the web.

The obligation would also apply to cases of promotion only by means of distance communication.

The provision introduced, in particular, is deemed necessary in order to stem the phenomenon of website scams - which are registering a worrying increase also due to the strong digital acceleration of recent years, partly connected to the Covid-19 pandemic - in order to protect consumers and, on the other hand, intermediaries themselves. Such a measure may in fact lead, in IVASS opinion, to a significant reduction in the risk for intermediaries of seeing their data illegitimately associated with unofficial websites.

Next steps

The public consultation on the Draft Regulation will be open until 25 July 2022.

Click here to download the public consultation document (available in Italian only).

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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