Complaints to insurance ombudsman increased

By Staff Writer

The ombudsman for long-term insurance said on Tuesday that 9 236 complaints were received in 2010, an increase of 2% from the previous year.

The ombudsman for long-term insurance has revealed that over 9000 complaints were received in 2010, up 2% from the previous year.  In total, 9236 complaints were submitted.
Ombudsman Brian Galgut said that this was a new record.

"A general increase in all categories of complaints was experienced," Galgut said at the release of the office's annual report.

"We directed 2 204 complaints to insurers to deal with, as the complainant had not given the insurers concerned sufficient opportunity to deal with them in accordance with the insurers' complaints processes."

These complaints were sent as "mini" cases, or as transfers to internal arbitrators.

In all 4 115 complaints translated into full cases requiring full investigation by the office.

"Most of the complaints received by our office, 66%, are sent by fax.

"The greatest number of our complainants, 28%, live in Gauteng, with KwaZulu-Natal second at 21%," Galgut said.
He said fewer cases were closed last year than in 2009, but the 2009 figures were inflated because 500 were carried over from  previous years.

Galgut said that cases about funeral policies continued to increase and this type of policy constituted 36% of cases finalised by his office.

"Our turnaround times were comparable to 2009, and 79% of cases were closed within six months. We recovered R103 484 956 for complainants in the form of lump sum amounts. This does not include other forms of relief such as income benefits or resolutions not sounding in money, for example, reinstatements."

He added that, in one case, about  R21m had been recovered - the largest amount  in a single complaint by his office to date.

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