Insurance undertakings / Insurance intermediaries

The FMA's contribution to client protection with regard to the activities of insurance undertakings consists primarily in solvency, market, and conduct supervision. In accordance with its legislative mandate, the focus of the FMA's supervisory activities is on monitoring compliance with legal provisions under the Insurance Supervision Act (ISA), especially the solvency requirements (compliance with provisions on financial conduct).

This is intended to ensure that the insurance undertakings are at all times able to fulfill their contractually assumed obligations vis-à-vis insured persons. Although the FMA was established as the contact office for complaints by insurance clients against insurance undertakings and insurance intermediaries, it must be pointed out that the FMA is not a consumer protection organization in a traditional sense; for decisions in civil disputes between insurance undertakings/intermediaries and individual insured persons, the regular courts have jurisdiction. The FMA is therefore unable to be of immediate help to individual complainants in enforcing civil claims against a supervised insurance undertaking or intermediary.

As the supervisory authority, the FMA may, however, play a type of mediation role between the parties to the dispute during the pre-litigation phase and obtain information from the insurance undertakings or intermediaries. At all times, the FMA is required to remain objective in relations with the supervised undertakings and their clients.

Information and complaints from insurance clients or intermediaries concerning market participants are used as an important source of insight in the supervisory work of the FMA and may thus make a significant contribution to the early recognition of faulty systemic processes in a supervised undertaking or may indeed help prevent damage to the insurance community in a timely manner. In this sense, frequent complaints are an important indication that the FMA must intervene.

The FMA's complaints management is also intended to ensure that information regarding relevant faulty developments or violations of supervisory norms are recognized early on and that appropriate measures can be taken. In this context, it should be noted that complainants do not enjoy standing as a party to any administrative proceedings that may be initiated. Due to its obligation of official secrecy, the FMA may furthermore not provide any information on the progress and outcome of such proceedings.

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