Complaints to FOS rise 5%

The number of general insurance disputes lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the June quarter increased 5.3% to 3552. The industry accounted for 30% of all disputes FOS received in the period, second behind the credit industry on 40.1%. FOS accepted 2134 general insurance disputes, from 6395 accepted overall. Disputes received across all product lines grew 17% to 11,790. FOS closed 11,611 disputes, with 64% resolved through an agreement between the consumer and financial services provider. About 14% closed because they fell outside FOS jurisdiction and 7% because applicants stopped pursuing the matter. In New Zealand, general insurance accounted for most complaints the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman received last financial year. The scheme received 206 such complaints, or 64% of the total. Health, life and disability insurance was second on 98 complaints, or 31%. “There will always be complaints, but learning from them is immensely valuable as a means to improve conduct… and reduce reputation risk,” Ombudsman Karen Stevens said. “Complaints help to inform and educate the industry, with the aim of avoiding customer dissatisfaction.” The number of complaint enquiries received was 3357, the most since 1998/99. “The increase in complaints could reflect an increase in awareness about our free and independent service, and the right to complain about insurance or financial services,” Ms Stevens said.

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