Disasters push up claim problems

Both declined claims and insurance disputes jumped sharply in the 2011/2012 financial year but the vast majority of the problems were with personal insurance, new data shows.

On-going claims from the 2011/2012 Queensland floods and other disasters last financial year are driving the increase, according to the Financial Ombudsman Service’s General Insurance Code of Practice: Overview of the year 2011/2012 report.

Although only 3% of the almost 4 million claims lodged were declined, they represented a 46% increase from the previous financial year, as well as a related 24% increase in disputes.

The biggest jump was in personal insurance, particularly Home, Personal Motor and Travel. Less than 6% of declined claims related to commercial insurance.

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth says the figures once again highlight the importance of consumers seeking advice on insurance matters from a qualified, professional broker.

“Insurance is an extremely complicated product to understand, and a broker should always be considered as the best source of advice to make sure consumers are adequately covered,” he says.

“Statistics show that the level of disputes between consumers and brokers is extremely low, which is extremely reassuring for consumers who do choose the broker route.”

More widely, FOS reported more than 2700 self-reported and remedied code breaches. There were also three significant code breaches, affecting more than 16,000 customers, plus 126 investigations into alleged breaches, resulting in 49 identified breaches.