Traian S, a driver in Bucharest, was lured by an announcement at the ground floor of a block of flats: „RCA policies, here!”. The insurance broker was close to his home, the lady in there was extremely nice, the price was good, nothing seemed out of place. Then, three months later, he hit a motorcyclist. Of course, he handed the biker his RCA policy and, after several days spent in the hospital, the latter addressed the insurance company in order to recover expenses for the vehicle and for the injury inflicted. He was baffled to find out the RCA policy was fake, that it had been issued as a so-called e-form and that the receipt received by the customer was fake.

Both the victim and Traian S. sought justice at the National Romanian Fund for Road Victims (FPVS). Unfortunately, it was in vain. After scanning the policy, the FPVS experts determined that the whole deal was a hoax. Afterwards, they checked the policy vailidity in the FSA records, but to no avail. Eventually, Traian went to the ground floor of the block he had passed by a few months ago – only to discover there was no sign of the fictive brokerage firm anymore. In the end, FPVS agreed to pay the biker the compensations requested and then recovered 10,000 lei from Traian S (who, appallingly, had to pay out-of-pocket).

Do a quick web scan

What can one do in order to avoid such complications? Ionel Dima, vice president at brokerage firm AVUS, recommends to always check the seller in the intermediaries record  (here http://www.asfromania.ro/index.php/supraveghere/registre-electronice/registrul-intermediarilor). In other words, whenever we are on the verge of signing an insurance policy, it is advisable to posess a laptop, tablet or smartphone with an Internet connection. One only has to type the broker’s name in the specific field and it doesn’t take more than a mere click to learn which insurance company and what kind of policies does he intermediate.  In case you’re facing a bogus broker, no information will pe displayed on your device. The FSA website also contains an online database of all the mandatory car insurance (RCA) policies contracted in Romania (here http://www.asfromania.ro/index.php/consumatori/baza-de-date-cedam/interogare-polite-rca/). It’s enough to type the car’s registration number or identification number in order to verify a RCA policy. Moreover, any visitor can obtain someone’s  damage record by introducing his/her personal identity code and his/her car’s registration and  identification number.

Insurance against insurances

Countless problems can appear when contracting an insurance policy. According to representatives of UNSICAR, The National Union of Societies of Insurance Brokerage and Consulting in Romania, „if the seller, a broker, an agent or any other person authorized to conduct this kind of business isn’t thoroughly acquainted with the products he stocks, the customer can end up signing a policy that won’t cover all the relevant risks he is exposed to. Moreover, the sum insured may be erroneus and, in case of an incident, the client may find himself underinsured. In practice this means that the compensation received will be diminished proportionally with the sum insured. It is the broker’s job to advise the customer about the coverage clauses, conditions, exclusions, rights and obligations and about the correct amount to be paid”.

A professional liability insurance of up to 1.1 million euro

Insurance brokers are compelled by the law to contract professional liability insurance policies, with a capped compensation amount of 1.1 million euro. As follows, any customer contracting a policy from a broker will actually benefit from a double insurance. If the sum insured is incorrectly set, affecting the compensation received in case of damage, the broker is liable to legal sanctions. For that matter, this type of additional shield is not available when the policy is inked directly at the insurance company or at an insurance agent.

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