Insurers give ex offenders some straight advice

Insurance companies have finally put the brakes on alleged poor treatment of customers with criminal convictions.

More than 8 million people have a criminal conviction, and in the past, offenders groups have criticised insurers for failing to recognise ‘spent’ convictions when setting insurance premiums.

This was a particular problem for drivers, who may still have an endorsement on their licence long after the offence was spent – or not liable to be reported under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

The aim of the act is to limit discrimination against ex-offenders.

Now, the Association of British Insurers, the industry body of most of Britain’s big insurance firms, has teamed up with UNLOCK (the National Association of Reformed Offenders) to produce guidance to clarify what information insurers should know about convictions.

Nick Starling, ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “Access to, and fair treatment by, financial services providers is a key part of financial inclusion. We recognise that some people with criminal convictions may encounter difficulties when looking for insurance.

“Our guidelines have been produced to ensure that people with criminal convictions get a fair deal when applying for insurance.”

The guidance consists of:

• A guide setting out what people with criminal convictions need to disclose when applying for insurance

• A good practice guide for insurers detailing how they use criminal convictions and ask  questions for applications

Chris Bath, Director of Projects at UNLOCK, said: “Financial services are a crucial foundation for engagement in modern society. If we want people to lead productive lives; working, paying taxes and providing their family with a home, we cannot allow the justice system to sever people from their finances, even less to create lifelong financial exclusion.”

The guides are available for download by clicking here

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