People with unspent convictions face difficulties in getting house and motor insurance.
Insurance companies regularly take into account convictions that have no relevance to the insurance being sought.
People with unspent convictions pay disproportionately more for their insurance.
Insurers fail to follow industry good-practice and are often misleading in the questions or assumptions they have, suggesting that people with spent convictions need to disclose these.
What we think needs to change
The insurance industry should update good practice and insurance providers should implement clear and consistent wording in relation to asking about unspent convictions.
Insurance companies should only take into account unspent convictions that are directly relevant to the specific type of insurance.
Mainstream insurers should develop systems that better enable customers to provide details of their unspent conviction so that individual considerations can be made.
In addition insurers should:
- Follow good practice when asking about criminal records (including Unlock & ABI guidance).
- Review their policies to ensure that they are consistent with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- Ensure that their customer services staff are trained on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and have access to internal guidance that enables them to respond to queries raised by customers.
- Ensure that they make it clear to applicants that they only have to disclose unspent convictions (and/or do not have to disclose spent convictions).
- Provide advice and links on how applicants can find out if their convictions are spent.
- Not rely on assumptions about criminal records and instead should ask a clear question about unspent convictions.
- If they exclude people with unspent convictions, make this clear to applicants and create links with specialist providers to ensure that customers with convictions are treated fairly
- Stop using police records as part of any checking process (as this has been a criminal offence since March 2015).
- Honour claims if they did not make clear the need to declare unspent convictions at the point of taking out the policy.
What we're doing
- We’ve developed practical guidance and a list of insurers that provide a variety of insurance to people with convictions.
- We’ve secured important reforms to insurance disclosure law.
- We made significant progress through our Unlocking Insurance project
- We’re monitoring the questions that insurers use to ask about criminal records to ensure that they are not asking for, or taking into account, spent convictions.
- We continue to push the insurance industry to use evidence-based risk-pricing models and treat people with convictions fairly.
By supporting individuals as well as working with insurance brokers to improve their policies, we’re helping people with criminal records to access the products they need at a fair price.View all case studies