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25 Sept 2022

Dundalk based insurance brokers fined by Central Bank for overcharging customers

Dundalk based insurance brokers fined by Central Bank for overcharging customers

Dundalk insurance brokers Keystone have been fined over €40,000 for overcharging customers.

The Central Bank of Ireland has fined Dundalk-based insurance broker Keystone Insurance Limited €41,385 for overcharging customers and providing unclear information on fees.

It was reported the Central Bank found that over five years, at least 62 customers were over
charged a collective total of €9,964.36.

Keystone has since reimbursed the customers.

The Central Bank also concluded that 190 of 265 customer invoices reviewed failed to bring fees to the attention of clients, resulting in them not being fully aware of what they were being charged.

Keystone Insurance Limited was fined for six breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 between April 2012 and December 2017.

Keystone, a retail intermediary that operates in the commercial insurance market, has admitted to all six breaches of the Code.

The Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering Seána Cunningham said: “The purchase of everyday financial products by consumers can be a complex and daunting process.

“Many consumers rely on professionals, in this case an insurance intermediary, to assist them.

“Insurance intermediaries are required to recommend the most suitable product(s) to meet their customers’ needs and to always act in their best interests.

“In this case, as a result of not having the adequate processes, systems and controls, Keystone overcharged 62 customers and 190 of their customers were sent unclear communications on what fees they were being charged.”

Mr Cunningham added: “During the investigation, Keystone provided the Central Bank with incomplete and unclear responses to requests for information which led to delays.

“We considered this to be an aggravating factor.”

A fine of €59,121 was determined appropriate by the Bank, which was reduced by 30% to €41,385 through a settlement discount scheme.

The Democrat contacted Keystone Insurance for a comment, but the company did not respond.

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