Express Gifts, a direct mail order and online business with permission to sell general insurance products, has entered into an agreement with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide £12.5m redress to around 330,000 customers sold insurance that "offered little or no value".
According to the regulator, the insurance products sold by Express Gifts covered against accidental damage and theft for all products purchased from its Ace or Studio brands. The insurance was called "Property Insurance" from January 2005 to August 2008 and "Purchase Protection Insurance" from September 2008 to May 2015, with premiums calculated as a percentage of the customer account balance. This type of cover is no longer offered by the firm.
After conducting its own quality assurance activity, the firm agreed with the FCA the insurance cover it had sold did not provide adequate value to customers because, although it covered all items purchased, these were predominantly items of clothing, which customers would not generally consider insuring.
FCA director of supervision - retail and authorisations Jonathan Davidson said it was good news for consumers Express Gifts had reached agreement with the regulator that this insurance was of low value to customers. "It is important firms offer value for money," he added.
"We expect firms to identify where insurance products of little or no value have been sold to customers and take appropriate action. There is a responsibility on firms - whether they are responsible for the design or the distribution of these products - to ensure the products offer value for their customers."
Express Gifts is to write to all affected customers with details of how they will be paid the redress due. The FCA said any redress would be sent automatically, so customers do not need to take action, but added that if customers had any questions, wanted further information or their contact details had changed, they should contact the firm using the details on the Express Gifts website.
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