Most insurance companies, like HBF, pride themselves on their customer service and their ability to deal with the needs of their customers. When it comes to complaints, a good insurance provider will want to get to the heart of the matter, and sort out the problem for you.
The General Insurance Code of Practice requires that all insurers have an Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) process in place. This process outlines the steps the insurer will take when you make a complaint.
If you have a complaint against your insurer, it’s a good idea to check their website or contact them to find out more about their complaints process, and their timeline for dealing with complaints. Here is a general outline of what you should expect when making a complaint.
Communication is the key to making the complaints process run smoothly and quickly, to an outcome that suits you. Most insurance providers ask that you contact them first with any complaints, so they can deal with them as swiftly as possible.
This may involve phoning up customer service or sending an enquiry email. This should allow the insurer to deal with the problem, however if they’re not able to deal with it, or you are unhappy with the result, it’s time to move on to Step Two.
Step Two involves taking your complaint further with the insurer. When you speak to the insurer, ask about their complaints handling procedure, and their contact details for complaints. This will usually involve putting things in writing – in most cases, in an email.
In the email, use the word ‘complaint’ in the heading or subject line. Outline the problem, give all relevant details, and mention that you have contacted them previously regarding the issue (they may have it on file).
Include your name, contact details, your policy number, and the date, and attach any other relevant documents. Keep copies of all correspondence, including emails and documents sent.
If the insurance provider doesn’t deal with the issue within 2-3 weeks, or if you are unhappy with the outcome, move on to Step Three.
There are a number of Ombudsmen in Australia, whose job it is to help resolve disputes between businesses or providers and consumers.
There is the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) for general insurance, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) for life insurance, and The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman for private health insurance.
These Ombudsman services offer free, accessible, fair and independent dispute resolution, without the need for going to court. Their decisions however, are not binding, and the consumer may take legal or other steps to resolve the dispute after dealing with the Ombudsman.Insurance