Dispute Resolution - When things go wrong (Insurance)

It doesn’t matter whether you have a low or high income, insurance is a way to avoid the risk of losing your assets or finding yourself in financial difficulty

Losing valuable or precious possessions can be traumatic enough without having to then battle with your insurer when making a claim. While using Saropa’s services will certainly improve the efficiency of the claim process, there is always a chance that you are not happy with the response of your insurer.

Fortunately, there are dispute resolution procedures in place that insurance companies follow in an attempt to resolve these problems as quickly as possible.

In 2006, the insurance industry established a new general Insurance Code of Practice that sets out the agreed standards and responsibilities for companies and organizations that have signed up to the Code.

The Code has been designed to raise the customer service standards in the Australian general insurance industry and protect the rights of policyholders. The Code is monitored by the Insurance Ombudsman Service (IOS), who independently and impartially resolves general insurance disputes between insurers and participating companies.

The IOS makes sure each company signed up to the Code meets the required standards. If a company does not, it can be required to take action to fix the problem and sanctions may be imposed.

From an individual’s perspective, before contacting the IOS to register a complaint it is important to make sure you qualify. Important steps include:

  • Take your dispute to your insurance provider’s Internal Dispute Resolution process and ask for a decision.
  • If the dispute remains unresolved, or you are unhappy with the decision, contact the IOS on 1300 78 08 08 (toll-free).
  • You must contact the IOS within three months of receiving the decision from your insurance provider.

Most types of general insurance, from house insurance, travel insurance to business insurance are covered under the Code.

The only types of general insurance that are not included are reinsurance (insurance for insurers) and insurance that has specific rules under Government statute, like Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP), workers’ compensation, marine, and medical indemnity insurance. Life insurance and health insurance are not included as these have different regulations.

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