SUSEP Publishes New Circular on the Handling of Consumer Complaints and Whistleblowing Within its Scope

On September 18, 2020, the Superintendence of Private Insurance (”SUSEP”) published SUSEP Circular No. 613, of September 11, 2020 (“Circular”), which provides for the handling of consumer complaints from supervised markets and whistleblowing within the scope of the entity itself.

The new Circular provides a differentiation between complaints, which are defined as mere reports of dissatisfaction, and whistleblowing, which involve reports of alleged violations.

With the aim of optimizing time and costs, SUSEP has established in this new Circular that, from January 1, 2021, consumers, defined as customers of the entities supervised, should register any complaints on the digital platform, which will be subject to the procedures defined by the National Secretariat of Consumers (Senacon).

The new platform demonstrates the update that SUSEP has been implementing to its systems and norms, in which it is no longer necessary to appear in person at the regional units for the filing of complaints, as provided for in Circular SUSEP No. 292, of May 18, 2005, and which in turn encourages consumers to report such complaints.

During the migration period to the new platform, consumers can send their complaints directly to SUSEP through its telephone service, physical and/or electronic registration, or through a form available on the official SUSEP website. It is worth highlighting that the supervised entities must register on the new platform by October 30, 2020.

The information entered at the time of registration of complaints will be handled and supervised only by SUSEP and, according to Technical Director at SUSEP, Rafael Scherre, the focus becomes the production of quality information to plan supervisory actions that effectively prohibit the practice of conduct that is harmful to consumers, in addition to providing subsidies for sector regulation and financial education actions.

For the handling of complaints, consumers must use the organs of the National Consumer Defense System (SNDC) and, in the event that a consumer is dissatisfied with a company’s response, can seek recourse from consumer defense and judicial organs.

Conversely, whistleblowing must be made through the physical and/or electronic correspondence protocol, as well as through the channels made available to whistleblowers. An innovation on this point is the possibility of anonymous whistleblowing.

SUSEP will only analyze whistleblowing reports that are accompanied by documents that show signs or evidence of irregularities. Otherwise, the report will be returned to the whistleblower so that, within 30 (thirty) calendar days, additional information and documents can be presented.

In the case that SUSEP verifies in the whistleblowing report the existence of materiality and perpetration of an administrative infraction, an administrative sanctioning process (PAS) will be initiated, and, whenever possible, the whistleblower must be informed about the closing of the report or the initiation of the administrative process.

The new Circular will be effective as of October 1, 2020 and can be consulted in its entirety here.

In addition, it repeals SUSEP Circular 292, of May 18, 2005, which dealt with the subject.

Demarest’s Insurance and Reinsurance team is available to provide any additional clarifications that may be necessary.