If you’re unhappy with your Insurers response to your informal complaint, write a letter before you use the phone. This makes the complaint formal and they must then follow the process through. Every insurance company publishes a complaints procedure that you must adhere to. It normally itemises who to contact and when you must expect a response. If you are intending to write in to register your complaint, be sure to:
- Put the date
- Give your name
- Include any evidence you have
- Say what you would like the company to do to put things right
- Explain your complaint clearly
- State that if you are unhappy with the company’s response you will take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service
- Mark the letter ‘COMPLAINT’ clearly at the top
- List the Insurance policy number
Keep a copy of any correspondence and notes of any telephone calls you have so you can pass them on to the Ombudsman Service if you need to. Keep safe every letter you receive, including the ones you send, and make content notes of every phone call and who you spoke to. If you are still unhappy with the response you can then revert the complaint to the financial ombudsman. The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free service which helps to resolve disputes between policyholders and financial organisations. They receive 5,000 enquiries about complaints every working day. The Ombudsman Service is completely free to use.
You’ll have to exhaust your insurance company’s official complaints procedure before you can use the Ombudsman Service. Once you submit a complaint they have eight weeks to respond. You can contact the Ombudsman Service initially for advice, but they can only act after you get a final response from the insurance company, or as soon as the eight weeks are up. Download and complete a complaint form from the Financial Ombudsman Service website. Send it off with a copy of the final response letter from your insurance company plus any other documents you have that support your case.
The Ombudsman Service will look at your case facts – you don’t have to worry about presentation or arguments, just tell the truth in your own words. They will listen to both sides of the story and try to come to a fair judgement. They’ll either reject or accept your complaint, or help you come to a settlement with the company. If it decides you’ve been unfairly treated it has the power to make the company:
- Explain their actions
- Offer compensation
Your case will first of all be looked at by an ‘adjudicator’ but if either you or your insurance company is unhappy with the outcome, it can be referred up the chain to an ‘Ombudsman’. The Ombudsman’s decision is final and binding on your insurance company. If you’re still not happy with it, you can still take the case to court, but you’ll have to pay a lot of expenses. If the Ombudsman Service concludes you don’t deserve compensation then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll win.