Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Scheme support for Chrch

Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Scheme support for Christchurch

By Karen Stevens, Insurance and Savings Ombudsman

For nearly two decades, the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO) Scheme has provided free support and advice for thousands of consumers.

Our experienced disputes resolution team has adapted to a rapidly changing insurance and financial services sector over the years. But the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes has been unprecedented.

The scale of damage, and the cost to peoples’ lives, livelihoods, and homes created immediate pressure on the insurance industry and resulted in permanent change.

We are very aware that unresolved insurance claims in Canterbury are still causing strain and frustration for many people, and we want to help where we can.

So far, our dedicated Canterbury Earthquake Response Team has dealt with over 1300 complaint enquiries, on issues such as: the scope of rebuilds and repairs; interpreting policies; declined claims; temporary accommodation costs; and delays.

Of the completed formal complaints relating to the Canterbury earthquakes, 40% have had positive outcomes for consumers. This means the complaint has been either settled or upheld.

A complaint is more likely to be settled than upheld. And, contrary to misleading claims that the relatively low number of ‘upheld’ complaints equates to failure, a settled case is ultimately preferable.

Each year we deal with well over 3000 complaint enquiries and around 280 formal complaints about financial services. Over 25% of our formal complaints result in settlement.

Settlement means we have successfully facilitated an agreement between the consumer and the insurer. Settlement often relates to the insurer paying an agreed amount to settle the claim. This is a positive outcome for both parties, rather than an imposed decision on one party.

As an approved disputes resolution scheme, we are bound by our Terms of Reference and we have to follow a specific process. But we are being as flexible as possible within these parameters to provide assistance in Canterbury.

For example, a positive step for Southern Response customers is the agreement by Southern Response to waive our jurisdictional limit of $200,000, to investigate their customers’ earthquake complaints.

To make information more available, our Canterbury Earthquake Response Manager has been giving presentations and meeting groups in Christchurch to discuss our role; key insurance issues and policy changes.

At the enquiry stage, we provide information and guidance. We help to pinpoint and articulate what the issues are; identify what steps to take; and help you make informed choices.

By helping to resolve issues up front, we can potentially avoid the escalation of issues into formal complaints.

We can only formerly investigate complaints after they have been reviewed by your insurer’s complaints process. But we can still help talk you through the next steps in resolving your insurance problems, guide the process along, and sometimes speed it up.

When assessing formal complaints, our case managers use their mediation skills, and their industry and legal knowledge, to consider the facts, interpret policy, and apply the law.

The reason a large number of complaints are not upheld or settled in favour of the consumer is there is simply no cover under the policy. Consumers have sometimes been encouraged to believe they have an entitlement under the policy when, in fact, they have no entitlement and are ultimately very disappointed.

The ISO Scheme is an experienced and independent disputes resolution scheme providing free support for consumers. But we are not an advocacy service.

If consumers are unhappy with the outcome we reach, they are not bound by our decision and they can still take their case to court.

We urge all consumers to read their insurance policies carefully, to understand their options and to make informed choices.

Please see our website for information relating to Canterbury, and please contact our office any time with any query or issue.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news