Insurance distribution — new rules from 2018

Directive 2016/97 — insurance distribution rules

It aims to improve the way insurance products are sold so that they will bring real benefits to consumers and retail investors in the EU.

Key Points

Under the new directive on insurance distribution*, consumers and retail investors buying insurance products or insurance-based investment products will benefit from:
greater transparency of insurance distributors in regard to the price and the costs of their products, so that it is clear to consumers what they are paying for;
better and more comprehensible information, so that consumers can take more informed decisions, with a simple, standardised Insurance Product Information Document (IPID) for non-life insurance products;
where insurance products are offered in a package with another good or service, for example when a new car is sold at a bargain price together with motor insurance, consumers will have the choice to buy the main good or service without the insurance policy;
rules on transparency and business conduct to prevent consumers from buying products that do not meet their needs.

These rules now also apply when a product is bought directly from an insurance company, and not only (as in the past) when products are bought via intermediaries such as agents or brokers.
There are stronger safeguards for the sale of life insurance products with investment elements, such as unit-linked life insurance contracts. Insurance distributors selling such products have to make sure that the product is suitable with regard to the customer’s financial situation, investment objectives and experience in the investment field.

Insurance distributors will benefit from fair competition on a level playing field and an improved legal framework for cross-border business.
The directive recasts and replaces Directive 2002/92/EC on insurance mediation with effect from 23 February 2018.


It applies from 22 February 2016. EU countries have to incorporate it into national law by 23 February 2018.

For more information, see:

‘Distribution of insurance products and after-sale activities’ on the European Commission’s website

Insurance distribution: to sell, propose to sell, advise on or carry out other work before concluding an insurance contract including dealing with claims after an insurance event.


Directive (EU) 2016/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution (recast) (OJ L 26, 2.2.2016, pp. 19-59)


Directive 2002/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 December 2002 on insurance mediation (OJ L 9, 15.1.2003, pp. 3-10)

Successive amendments to Directive 2002/92/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


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