* Probe triggered by more than 1,000 complaints
* Intesa acquired RBM Salute earlier this year
* Intesa says standards improved, complaints have fallen (Adds Intesa statement)
ROME, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Italy’s antitrust authority said on Thursday it had opened an investigation into Intesa Sanpaolo’s RBM Salute business as well as Previmedical for alleged unfair commercial practices in health insurance services.
The regulator said in a statement it had received more than 1,000 complaints about possible “aggressive commercial practices” by the two groups which have led to customers giving up services and reimbursements they were entitled to.
Clients said they faced requests to supply excessive documentation, delays in getting authorisation for required treatments and difficulties in contacting call centres. Some failed to get reimbursed for their healthcare services without good reasons, the regulator said.
The regulator said it had carried out inspections in the headquarters of the two companies on Wednesday with the help of Italy’s finance police.
Intesa Sanpaolo said the complaints related to a period that pre-dated its acquisition of RBM Salute in May 2020.
“Starting from that date, concrete measures have been put in place to align the quality of services provided to customers to the high standards held by the whole Intesa Sanpaolo group,” Italy’s biggest bank said.
Intesa said complaints had halved in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period of 2018, to account for just 0.07% of customers who were insured.
Previmedical did not reply to a Reuters email requesting comment. (Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, additional reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia and Valentina Za in Milan;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)