The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO) Scheme has received its highest number of complaints in 20 years.
In its latest annual report, the IFSO said there were 3,357 complaint enquiries in 2017-2018. While there appeared to be no particular reason for the rise, other than the possibility of more awareness about the service, the greatest number of complaints were about general insurance at 206 in total – including 85 for household insurance, 46 for travel, 35 for vehicle and 21 for contents insurance. This was followed by complaints about health, life and disability insurance (98) – a similar pattern to previous years.
Of the total enquiries, the insurance ombudsman said only 320 were investigated. Despite this, the ombudsman says that more complaints were settled (76, or 24%) than the previous year (65, or 21%).
Complaints about financial advisers, meanwhile, remain relatively low (seven in total, down from 10) together with credit contract complaints (seven in total, down from nine).
“There will always be complaints but learning from them is immensely valuable as a means to improve conduct across the entire sector and reduce reputation risk,” Ombudsman Karen Stevens said. “Complaints help to inform and educate the industry, with the aim of avoiding customer dissatisfaction.”
Complaints were also resolved more quickly last year – an average of 54 working days, compared to 63 working days in the previous year.