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Bigger claims can be considered by IFSO scheme

The IFSO Scheme can now investigate complaints about insurance claims, credit and other financial services/products up to $350,000+GST, or $2,625+GST per week for regular payments.

Monday, August 7th 2023, 9:31AM

by Sally Lindsay

These limits were previously $200,000+GST and $1,500+GST.

Changes have been made to the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme (IFSO Scheme) terms of reference and constitution from 1 September.

IFSO Ombudsman Karen Stevens, says the changes will mean more consumers can now have their complaints investigated by the IFSO Scheme’s free service, rather than having to go through the courts.

“Previously, anyone with a claim over the limit of $200,000 would have had to pay for a lawyer to take their case to court,” Stevens says.

“Court proceedings are not cheap and they’re certainly not free – like the IFSO Scheme process”.

She says the changes bring the IFSO Scheme into line with other dispute resolution schemes in the financial sector, and will mean a number of extra cases are now eligible for it to look at.

“Extreme weather, such as the Auckland flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle, often result in many claims, both small and large. The change increasing our monetary limits will allow us to investigate more complaints from those affected at the higher end and will ensure more consumers get increased access to justice,” Stevens says.

Other changes include clarifying the IFSO Scheme’s decision-making process and increasing the amount that can be awarded for special inconvenience to $5,000.

The IFSO Scheme’s terms of reference and constitution were last revised in 2015.

Since then, there have been law changes, meaning the terms of reference and constitution had to be updated.  The Scheme’s independent review, carried out by Professor John McMillan AO, in 2018 also recommended a number of changes.

The IFSO Scheme consulted on proposed changes during two rounds of feedback with participants and stakeholders, in late 2022 and early 2023.

Tags: insurance

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