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ISO fields five adviser complaints

Financial adviser complaints made up just 2 per cent of the total complaints dealt with by the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman scheme in the latest financial year.

Thursday, September 24th 2015, 4:22PM

The ISO’s annual report was released today, which shows complaints have decreased in number, but increased in complexity.

The scheme investigated 254 complaints and responded to 3057 complaint inquiries in 2014-2015, down from 300 a year earlier.  Just five complaints related to advisers, the same number as last year.

“The complaints we are now investigating are more complex, and many of the straight-forward issues are being resolved earlier by our participants,” ombudsman Karen Stevens said. 

“This is a positive trend for the industry and its customers. Industry practice is changing for the better, so complaints can be resolved within the insurance or financial service provider’s own complaints processes. This is often assisted by our free inquiries service, used by customers of our participants to seek information or guidance on issues from the ISO Scheme. We can help consumers to resolve these issues before they escalate into disputes.”

Of the complaints received, 72 per cent were not upheld, up from 65 per cent last year, 22 per cent were settled through negotiation and mediation, and just 1 per cent upheld.

Participants paid $2.61 million to complainants in the year.

“Preventing complaints is just as important as resolving complaints,” Stevens said. “And communication with customers can always improve.  If consumers understood more about financial products or services before signing the contract, many later problems could be avoided.”

Stevens said complaints should be viewed as lessons for improving future conduct.  

The greatest proportion of complaints to the ISO Scheme last year was in the general insurance category at 52%, which includes house, motor vehicle, travel and contents insurance. The second largest complaint category related to health, life and disability insurance, at 41%.

The ISO becomes known as the Insurance and Financial Ombudsman Scheme Inc from November 1.

Tags: ISO

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