Changing insurer: in our country it is anything but a simple procedure. Belgians pay a lot for insurance, partly because it is very complicated to switch to another insurer. A reform bill has been prepared for several years, but has not yet been implemented. However, according to State Secretary for Consumer Affairs Eva De Bleeker (Open Vld), this will soon change. “The proposal will be knocked off this year,” she predicts.

    Annual figures from the Insurance Ombudsman show that the number of complaints about the cancellation of an insurance policy has increased by 45 percent in 2021. “The problem is big. In our country we pay a lot for insurance, we are number three in Europe. That is because there is too little competition in the market”, explained Vooruit Member of Parliament Melissa Depraetere at ‘Joe’ this morning.

    Bill is ready

    There is as yet no question of an ‘easy switch’ or an easy transition, such as with energy and telecom contracts. For example, consumers must cancel by registered letter three months before the annual due date. “Most people therefore never change, and that doesn’t help the price,” says Depraetere. Neighboring countries, the Netherlands and France, show how things can be improved. Cancellation from one year is possible at any time with a notice period of one month.

    Since 2020, a bill, called Prévot, is ready to reform the cancellation procedure. However, that proposal is not being implemented, although a simpler cancellation procedure can reduce insurance costs for Flemish families and will lead to fewer dormant contracts (contracts that have expired and are therefore no longer available on the market, ed.).

    Forward Member of Parliament Melissa Depraetere. © BELGA

    “Reform is coming this year”

    State Secretary for Consumer Affairs Eva De Bleeker (Open Vld) emphasized at ‘Joe’ that a lot of work is being done on the implementation of the bill. According to her, the intention is also to make the notice period as short as possible, to “one to two months”. The State Secretary states that consumers must have sufficient time to choose another insurer, since not being insured is not an option. “You can’t live without it,” says De Bleeker.

    The State Secretary estimates that the reform can still be knocked off this year.

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