Insurers expand complaints reporting

The Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kahua Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) has introduced more detailed reporting about complaints in a commitment by the insurance industry to provide greater transparency and openness to New Zealanders.

ICNZ currently reports on the total number of complaints dealt with by the industry and referred to independent external dispute resolution services in its Annual Review. It has been working together with the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO) and Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL) – a Financial Ombudsman Service  to refine the reporting and provide a breakdown of the data by member on the ICNZ website.

Of the 1.2 million claims made each year, only around 150 complaints are referred to external dispute resolution schemes to make a decision.

“Insurers are right behind this initiative to build trust and offer further confidence to New Zealanders that the industry is committed to be open and transparent in handling their claims,” ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton said.

“We are working hard to support our customers and we take complaints seriously when things go wrong, so we can do things better in future.”

If customers have a complaint, they should first contact their insurance company. If the complaint cannot be resolved by the insurer, then the customer can take their case to the independent external dispute resolution schemes – IFSO or FSCL – to see if they can help.

Tim Grafton said Insurance customers should expect their insurer to maintain high standards and for robust processes, back up by external oversight, to be in place to allow for complaints to be handled.

“Most cases are resolved between the customer and insurer with only a small number referred to the independent external dispute resolution schemes. These schemes will then investigate the complaint and make a decision either in favour of the customer or insurer, essentially confirming if the correct decision has been made.

“ICNZ’s members are committed to do the very best for their customers and this initiative is aimed at increasing trust and improving transparency.

“It is important to remember that each ICNZ member has a different number of customers, claims and complaints and to take this into account when looking and interpreting the data. For example, it makes sense that the insurers with a larger market share will have more claims and therefore more complaints, and insurers with a smaller market share will tend to have fewer claims and complaints.

“We will continue to look at ways to improve how we engage with customers to ensure they have confidence and trust in the industry,” Tim Grafton said.

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