FCA fines insurer £25,000 over AR mis-selling

Insurance broker Porta Verde Financial Services Ltd has been fined £25,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority after two of its appointed representatives were found to have mis-sold to elderly and vulnerable consumers over a near two-year period.

Two firms that are ARs of the firm were found to have used “high-pressure sales tactics and misleading information to push consumers into buying insurance for satellite TV equipment, plumbing and drainage repairs” between October 2010 and June 2012, the FCA said.

It gave examples including one where a sales agent “misled a customer’s carer to obtain permission to process payments”, and another where a customer “clearly thought he had been called by his satellite TV provider” yet still passed on to a manager and asked to purchase cover.

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Porta Verde settled at an early stage of the investigation and therefore qualifed for a 30 per cent discount on the fine. It is also entering voluntary liquidation and provided evidence of “financial hardship”.

The FCA said before the discount and taking account of its financial position the penalty would have been £353,800. It added that the £25,000 fine “reflects Porta Verde’s total remaining financial resources”.

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime said: “Porta Verde is responsible for the unacceptable sales tactics used by its representatives. Firms should be in no doubt that we will take action when they – or their appointed representatives - fail to treat their customers fairly.”