Dundalk insurance broker Keystone fined for overcharging and unclear fees

Central Bank finds company overcharged 62 customers over a five-year period.

The Central Bank said  Keystone Insurance was responsible for six breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2012. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Central Bank said Keystone Insurance was responsible for six breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2012. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Central Bank said on Thursday that it has fined Dundalk-based insurance broker Keystone Insurance €41,385 for overcharging customers and providing unclear information on fees.

A regulatory investigation found that Keystone Insurance overcharged 62 customers a total of €9,964.36 over a five-year period to the end of 2017. All of these have been reimbursed, it said.

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.

All told, the bank said that Keystone Insurance was responsible for six breaches of the Consumer Protection Code 2012. The firm admitted to all six breaches as part of a settlement agreement, it said.

Representatives from the company were not immediately available for comment.

“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,” said Seána Cunningham, the bank’s director of enforcement and anti-money laundering.

Adequate processes

“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.”

The investigation stemmed from an on-site inspection of Keystone Insurance by supervisors in June 2017.

This is the Central Bank’s 140th settlement since 2006 under its Administrative Sanctions Procedure, bringing the total fines imposed to over €124 million.