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Beaten only by the banks: insurance records 15,665 complaints

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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) received 15,665 disputes involving general insurers in the last financial year, second only to banks who had 28,176 cases filed against them.

For COVID-19 disputes, travel was the most complained about financial product with 2610 cases lodged between March 3 and August 31, AFCA says.

General insurance accounted for 41% of overall disputes related to the pandemic, followed by the credit sector, which had 35%.

“The early impact of COVID-19 can be seen in the spikes in complaints relating to travel insurance,” AFCA Chief Ombudsman David Locke said. “With so many travel plans impacted, it was inevitable that there would be a big increase in travel insurance claims.”

AFCA received a total of 76,880 complaints overall and awarded $246.1 million in compensation to complainants, according to the latest edition of the AFCA Datacube.

The Datacube provides details about financial firms with four or more complaints in a given period. Information given includes service and products involved, naming firms and how they have been resolved.

Home building cover topped the list of general insurance products with the most complaints, at 2789. Motor vehicle insurance was a close second on 2602, followed by travel insurance on 1220, uninsured third party motor vehicle on 797 and home contents on 614.

Major personal lines insurers IAG and Suncorp each had more than 3000 complaints in 2019/20. There were 1189 complaints against Allianz, 1156 against QBE and 655 against Hollard Insurance Company.

A Suncorp spokesman told the business is focused on “continually improving customer outcomes by proactively identifying and responding to trends in complaints”.

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

Click here to access the Datacube.