AXA has been fined €675,000 (£569,746) by the Central Bank of Ireland after it was found to be in breach of the Minimum Competency Requirements (MCR), the Minimum Competency Code (MCC) and the Consumer Protection Code (CPC).
The Central Bank identified the breaches in November 2014 following an on-site inspection of the insurers head offices in Dublin. Specifically, AXA’s motor and property claims department was found to not have met regulatory standards in several areas between 2008 and 2014. Customer service operators operating a prescribed script function were not supervised by an accredited individual and were not referring requests for information and advice to an appropriate individual.
Derville Rowland, the Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement said the MCR and the MCC were introduced to maintain professional standards while dealing with consumers.
“The purpose of these standards is to ensure individuals acting for or on behalf of regulated entities in the provision of advice and associated activities, have a minimum acceptable level of competence to deal with consumers. In accordance with the standards, regulated entities must ensure that staff who provide advice to consumers on retail financial products hold a recognised qualification or have gained an appropriate level of experience through working in the industry.”
“Non-adherence to the Minimum Competency standards can affect the quality of service provided to consumers and creates an unacceptable level of risk to consumers in their dealings with regulated entities by, amongst other things, exposing them to unqualified and/or inexperienced staff,” Rowland added.
AXA has accepted the breaches as part of the settlement agreement.
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