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AFCA names insurers in complaints statistics

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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has launched an online site that provides data on the performance of individual insurers, in a move designed to increase transparency and assist consumer education.

Data detailing the number of complaints received about financial services firms shows that Suncorp’s AAI headed the general insurer category with 2232 complaints from November 1 last year to the end of June, while 2149 complaints concerned IAG’s Insurance Australia.

IAG and Suncorp are the two largest personal lines insurers in Australia and as a result dominate the general insurer category.

A Suncorp spokesman says the company is working to continually improve customer outcomes and is proactively identifying and responding to trends in complaints.

“Our response rates show that we treat our customers with the priority they deserve and we work with them to finalise simple complaints quickly, which allows us to focus our resources on resolving those more complex matters,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

IAG says it welcomes any information that helps improve understanding and awareness of the complaint and dispute resolution process.

“Our priority is supporting our customers in the unfortunate event they need to make a claim and we always look to resolve any issues as soon as possible,” a spokesman said.

“We provide multiple steps where a customer can request a decision on their claim to be reviewed. We also provide customers with their options should they wish to have a decision on their claim reviewed externally."

Other firms categorised as “very large” insurance businesses include QBE, which accounted for 837 complaints, and Allianz Australia with 714. The AFCA Datacube figures show they were followed by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia, owned 70% by IAG and 30% by RACV, with 456 complaints and Commonwealth Insurance with 425.

For “large” businesses, Hollard accounted for 384 complaints, Zurich 285, Westpac 199 and RACQ Insurance 184, Lloyd’s Australia 169, Youi 118 and RAC Insurance 113.

The “medium-sized” category was headed by Hollard-owned Petsure with 170 complaints, followed by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire with 138, Chubb with 83, Aioi Nissay Dowa with 80, AIG with 69, RAA with 62 and Suncorp’s Terri Scheer with 34.

The “small” category was headed by Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance with 94 complaints, followed by AI Insurance Holdings with 23.

The information includes statistics on complaints resolved when they are referred back to firms, the number that go through to case management, whether they are resolved by agreement or in favour of the firm or complainant. Breakdowns are also available on complaints by product type for each firm.

In the general insurance broker category, a total of 23 complaints were received about Adelaide brokerage Risk Insure Pty Ltd, of which 16 were resolved when referred back to the firm.

There were 11 complaints about Jardine Lloyd Thompson and eight for each of Arthur J Gallagher, Body Corporate Brokers, Aon Risk Services Australia and Marsh.

AFCA CEO and Chief Ombudsman David Locke says the Datacube provides a much deeper level of detail about the issues and products that consumers and small businesses are complaining about across financial services.

The online tool allows anyone to review the performance of financial firms and to compare them to others in the market, while it will also support the work of policy makers and researchers, he says.

“For financial firms themselves they can clearly see how they are tracking at handling complaints and how this compares with others in the market,” he said.