Upcoming changes to the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme) and its terms of reference (TOR) and constitution will make it so that more consumers can now get access to free dispute resolutions effective Sept. 1.
Under the changes, the IFSO Scheme will be able to investigate insurance claims complaints and other financial services’ products up to $350,000+GST, or $2,625+GST per week for regular payments. Currently, the limits were placed at $200,000+GST and $1,500+GST.
In a news release, Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens said that the upcoming changes to its TOR will mean that more consumers can have their complaints investigated by the free service offered by the scheme as opposed to customers having to go through the courts.
“Previously, anyone with a claim over the limit of $200,000 would have had to pay for legal representation to take their case to court,” Stevens said. “Court proceedings are not cheap and they’re certainly not free – like the IFSO Scheme process. The changes bring us into line with some other dispute resolution schemes in the financial sector, and will mean a number of extra cases are now eligible for us to look at.”
Stevens added that the changes are very much welcome in the context of the twin climate disasters that happened earlier this year, resulting in more claims across New Zealand. The increase in limits will allow the IFSO Scheme to investigate more complaints from those affected at the higher end, she said, and will ensure that more consumers get the justice they deserve.
In an earlier interview with Insurance Business, Stevens also commented on the record number of enquiries that the scheme received in May as everything in the country seems to have slowed down.
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