Fewer complaints about health insurance solicitation calls

The self-regulation of the health insurance industry with regard to the solicitation of customers has proven its worth, according to the responsible complaints office. Within three years, the number of complaints about unsolicited advertising calls has fallen by two-thirds.

The industry agreement brings what it promised, announced the "Supervisory Commission Industry Agreement Intermediaries" on Tuesday. By the end of October, they had received 87 complaints in the current year, and 110 complaints in 2021.

By comparison, before the agreement came into force at the beginning of 2021, the health insurance associations Santésuisse and Curafutura reportedly received around 300 complaints per year.

Consumer protection does not see things quite so positively. It is true that the number of unsolicited advertising calls has fallen. But the industry's own supervisory commission is a shaky affair. In addition, it is using other people's feathers to adorn itself, because they have been fighting for improvements for years, wrote the Foundation for Consumer Protection in a press release. A reliable legal solution is needed to put a stop to advertising calls.

Fines in four cases

The industry agreement was concluded by the two umbrella associations, and most insurers have joined it. The supervisory commission monitors compliance with the rules and can impose penalties. In the current year, it did so in four cases, according to the communiqué.

One of the issues was the violation of the ban on cold calling - i.e., telephone advertising to people who have never been insured with the insurance company in question or who have not been insured for a long time.

However, sanctions were also imposed for violations of other quality standards laid down in the industry agreement. Among other things, this involved a consultation not being properly recorded and the agent sending the cancellation of the previous contract to the wrong insurance company.

In another case, agents contacted customers via social networks and offered them the prospect of tickets for leisure activities. According to the supervisory commission, it was not sufficiently clear that by participating in the competition, the customer had given his or her consent to a visit from a consultant.

In total, the fines and procedural costs for the insurers concerned amounted to around CHF 100,000, it said. In 66 of the 87 cases in the current year, however, no proceedings could be opened due to a lack of information.

Parliament wants stricter rules

Parliament is also currently dealing with the rules for insurance intermediaries. In September, the Council of States, as the second chamber, approved a corresponding bill. Among other things, it creates a legal basis for the ban on cold calling. However, Consumer Protection is of the opinion that the bill discussed in parliament is not sufficient, as it stated in its press release.

The new federal law will also regulate, for example, the restriction of commissions. The federal parliament is expected to finish debating it in the coming winter session. However, the industry agreement will also have significance after the decree comes into force. It is envisaged that the industry will be able to set its own standards on numerous points. (SDA)

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