Life insurance complaints down: FOS

Disputes surrounding investments, advice and life insurance accounted for 9% of all disputes accepted at the Financial Ombudsman Service of Australia last financial year.

In its annual report FOS outlined that of the 22,475 disputes it accepted over the 12 month period, 1292 were investment and advice related and 1018 pertained to life insurance, the latter down 77 from 2015-2016.

While the overall number of investments and advice disputes as a percentage was down from 10% the previous financial year, there were actually 151 more investment and advice disputes accepted in 2016-2017.

Of the investments and advice disputes, 25% involved mixed asset funds, largely in relation to inappropriate advice (24%). In life insurance, about half (48%) the disputes involved income protection insurance, with the main issue being claim denial (26%).

The remainder of disputes handled by FOS between 2016-2017 were credit disputes (43%), general insurance disputes (35%), deposit-taking disputes (7%), and payment system disputes (5%).

Overall, FOS received a record number of complaints last financial year, totaling 39,479 - a 16% increase on the previous corresponding period.

FOS said the growth was driven by a larger number of general insurance related disputes which accounted for 38% of the overall rise.

Despite the increase, FOS reduced the average time taken to resolve disputes by 13% in 2016-17, resolving disputes in an average of 54 days in 2016-17 compared with 62 days last year. It also closed 44% of disputes within 30 days.

"This means that people can have their cases resolved more quickly and get on with the rest of their lives," chief ombudsman Shane Tregillis said.

As of 1 July 2018, FOS will be amalgamated with the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal to form the government's 'one-stop-shop' financial services dispute resolution service, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Read more: FOSlife insuranceFinancial Ombudsman Service of AustraliaAustralian Financial Complaints Authorityfinancial advicefunds managementShane TregillissuperannuationSuperannuation Complaints Tribunal
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