Insurance brokers must do better for consumers when it comes to handling complaints

A conference room with empty chairs around a meeting table

A report released by the Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee (the Committee) has found that insurance brokers who subscribe to the Insurance Brokers Code of Practice (the Code) need to reduce the length of time they take to respond to and resolve complaints if they are to build and maintain consumer trust in the sector.

The report is based on information provided to the Committee by Code subscribing insurance brokers about how they manage timeframes for handling complaints.

The report found that:

  • subscribing insurance brokers received a total of 1,049 complaints during 2018
  • two-thirds of these complaints were about service levels experienced by consumers when making an insurance claim
  • only 63% of complaints were resolved within 21 days
  • another 12% of complaints took more than 45 days to resolve
  • more than one-quarter of subscribing insurance brokers do not monitor timeframes during their internal dispute resolution process.

The Committee’s Chairperson, Michael Gill, said: “The report demonstrates there is room for significant improvement in the way that Code subscribing insurance brokers manage timeframes for handling complaints. This is important both for consumer protection and to ensure subscribers are not breaching the Code of Practice.”

“Internal dispute resolution plays a vital role in the consumer protection framework, as it gives consumers access to transparent, fair and timely complaints processes,” he said. “The Insurance Brokers Code of Practice is very clear on the standards, processes and timeframes that consumers can rightfully expect of Code subscribers when dealing with complaints and disputes.”

“The Committee has urged all subscribing insurance brokers to improve their timeframes for recording, monitoring and resolving complaints by implementing the recommendations we have outlined in the report as a matter of priority.”

A copy of the report can be obtained here.