Eiopa recommends shared complaints handling culture
Policyholders should receive better protection in the event of complaints against their insurers, the chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority has said.
Speaking as the trade body released guidelines for insurers to cover how insurance companies should deal with complaints handling, Gabriel Bernadino said it was important to enhance consumer protection in the financial market through implementing a shared culture of complaints handling.
The guidelines are also designed to organise a fair treatment of complaints and improve the information issued to policyholders.
Mr Bernadino said the guidelines were put in place due to a growing number of complaints, identified by Tony Boorman, principal ombudsman for the Financial Ombudsman Service, who claimed that consumers were losing out in the complaints process because of unacceptable practices among claims management companies and banks.
The guidelines, which are high-level principles and are addressed to competent supervisory authorities only, aim to provide guidance on appropriate internal systems and control for complaints handling by insurers. The guidelines instruct insurers as to the creation of both a complaints management policy and a complaints management function.
Mr Bernardino added: “With these guidelines, Eiopa aims to take an important step towards promoting more transparency, simplicity and fairness in the market for consumer financial products and services and thereby enhance consumer protection, one of our key objectives.”
Peter Chadborn, director and adviser of Colchester-based PlanMoney, said: “These guidelines can introduce consistency and clients can have confidence about the services they are receiving.
“IFAs can also get a broader understanding of the guidelines and have a better idea of the support their clients should be getting. However, guidelines are all well and good but how enforceable are they and are there any consequences for non-conformity?”
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