Aegon-owned Stonebridge International Insurance has been fined £8.3m by the FCA for failures in relation to sales of accident insurance.
Between April 2011 and December 2012, Stonebridge was found to have used outsourced sales staff that encouraged people to buy more expensive products and did not give clear information, while post-sale support staff discouraged customers from cancelling policies
Stonebridge generated leads from retailers, banks and credit card firms and paid them a percentage of premium sales.
Money Marketing first revealed Stonebridge was set for the fine in March.
FCA director of enforcement Tracey McDermott says: “Customers are entitled to expect firms to provide them with fair and balanced information to enable them to make the right choices about the product that is right for them. Stonebridge failed to do this and, when customers tried to cancel, put up barriers to prevent them from doing so.
“Firms must take responsibility for their outsourcing arrangements and ensure that they treat customers fairly.”
Stonebridge is carrying out an independent review of its past sales in the UK and Europe. Up to 486,444 customers could be impacted.
Stonebridge has already paid redress worth a total of £400,000 to affected customers in the UK.
In a statement, Stonebridge says: ”Following the FCA Notice issued today Stonebridge acknowledge the findings of the FCA. The Notice does not impact the day to day operations of Stonebridge and we remain a solvent trading company. We will continue to service our clients as usual. We will meet our obligations to our customers by providing claims and customer services to meet the expectations of our policyholders.
”All policies remain in force and Stonebridge will honour the terms and conditions of all existing policyholders.”