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Youi fined $100,000 for sales tactics

Insurer Youi’s misleading sales tactics have seen it fined $100,000 by the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).

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The council, a voluntary industry body, took disciplinary action against Youi after the South African-owned company’s guilty plea to 15 representative charges brought against it by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act.

ICNZ found Youi’s sales practices also breached the standards set in the council’s Fair Insurance Code.

Youi has yet to be sentenced on the charges laid against it by the commission. These charges include:

  • making false or misleading representations on its website regarding consumers’ ability to obtain a quote online
  • making false or misleading statements during telephone sales calls with consumers, including telling them bank or credit card details were required to generate a policy quote
  • asserting a right to payment for unsolicited insurance policies by sending letters demanding payment and/or debiting consumers’ bank or credit card accounts without their express permission or knowledge
  • sending invoices to consumers in relation to unsolicited insurance policies that did not specify that the consumer was under no obligation to pay for the policies.

ICNZ gave Youi the largest fine it could but stopped short of terminating the company’s membership. ICNZ president Chris Black said the company had been warned that a repeat of the behaviour would lead to its membership of the council being terminated.