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NZ ombudsman says complaint management ‘improving’

New Zealand’s Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme received 3922 enquiries and investigated 282 complaints last year, according to its latest Annual Report.

Some 64% of all enquiries were about general insurance; 14% related to health, life and disability insurance; 12% related to loans or credit contracts; and 4% concerned financial advisers.

Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens says the focus on improving conduct and culture in the financial services sector “may be helping to improve complaint management”.

“Only by listening to the consumer voice and responding with the correct information at the right time will complaints be managed effectively,” she said.

“We are noticing the complaints we refer back to insurers on behalf of complainants are being resolved more quickly and settled more often, which is a good sign in terms of the customer experience.”

She says the next step is to learn from complaint issues and insights.

“Misunderstanding and miscommunication continue to be common complaint themes. Communication and transparency are even more important in the current climate.”

The scheme received 230 COVID-19 related enquiries to June 30.