Fifty percent of complaints made to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) in 2013 related to insurance, but only 5% of insurance-related complaints were upheld.
The FSO, William Prasifka, recently published his bi-annual review on trends in respect of complaints against financial service providers in the investment, banking and insurance sectors in Ireland between July 1 2013 and December 31 2013.
A total of 3,835 insurance-related complaints were received in 2013 (compared to 4,058 complaints in 2012), comprising 50% of all complaints. However, overall only 5% of insurance-related complaints were upheld. In the first half of 2013, only 6% of insurance-related complaints made were upheld (15% were partly upheld and 79% were not upheld). In the second half of 2013, only 4% of insurance-related complaints were upheld (17% of complaints were partly upheld and 79% of complaints were not upheld). The FSO awarded compensation totalling 269,132 in respect of insurance-related complaints.
For the first time since 2007, there has been a significant decrease in the number of complaints made, although there has been an increase in the number of complaints requiring formal investigation. The FSO reported that overall insurance complaints decreased by 34% in the second half of 2013. The FSO principally attributes the reduction in complaints to a change in procedures, and in particular the requirement that a complainant provide evidence that he or she has already communicated the substance of the complaint to the relevant financial service provider before making a complaint to the FSO.
The FSO has also attributed the reduction in claims to new reporting powers introduced on September 1 2013, which empower the FSO to name and report on the complaints records of individual financial service providers in the insurance, banking and investment sectors. Individual financial service providers, including a number in the insurance sector, against which three or more findings had been found by the FSO to be substantiated or partially substantiated (largely relating to payment protection insurance (PPI) where financial service providers in the insurance sector...