Reinsurers, Policyholders, Beneficiaries, and Customers
The ICPs depend on the definitions of the terms that the IAIS uses in preparing all of their documents. Most of the terms are defined in the IAIS glossary that is available on the IAIS Web site. Several other important definitions are included in the document, and they influence the scope of the assessment of the criteria and the principle.
The term insurers includes reinsurers. Even though the term generally refers to insurers, the reinsurance sector is also included in all respects unless indicated. The only indication that excludes them is with respect to consumer protection because reinsurance is generally taken to be a market between more informed customers (IAIS 2003a, 41).
A wide definition of the terms policyholders, beneficiaries, and customers is used in the ICP. Policyholders, when used, describes not only the owner of the policy but also a beneficiary, for example, a third-party claimant or the widow of a deceased policyholder awaiting claim payment. Customers is a term used to also include potential policyholders. The definitions are of most importance when considering the consumer protection in particular. For example, under criterion “e” of ICP 25, the effectiveness or otherwise of an “accessible” complaint handling process will depend on whether or not a claimant can access it regardless of whether or not he or she is the policyholder.
Information and disclosure will also need to be interpreted in the context of the definitions but within practical rather than literal bounds. The relevance and timeliness of information provided to the potentially affected parties should be a key consideration. The owner of a policy may need particular information not only before purchase but also during the time the contract is in force. The existence of a complaint scheme may be relevant for general information but will be more pertinent to those who indicate that they have a claim and even more so to those who have had a claim denied by an insurer.