By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Services Ombudsman’s Bureau
3rd Floor Lincoln House
5 September 2011
Re: Publication of Information on Complaints Records of Providers
We are grateful to have the opportunity to comment on the Financial Services Ombudsman’s proposal to publish information on the complaints record of financial services providers.
This submission is made on behalf of both our general insurance and also our life assurance businesses in Ireland.
At Zurich we are strongly committed to consumer protection and to that end we already have in place a strong customer complaints process.
When it comes to making a purchase decision in relation to financial services products, the availability of information is of critical importance to consumers. We are of the view that consumers should be able to access information relating to complaints handling record of financial services providers as this will enable them to make a more informed decision regarding each provider’s dedication to customer service.
For those reasons, we are supportive of your proposal to identify financial services providers in the context of the publication of complaints-related information, including case summaries.
With regard to the publication of case summaries, we are of the view that, in the interests of fairness, a financial services provider should be informed in advance (perhaps 7 – 10 days) of the Financial Services Ombudsman’s proposal to publish a case-study in which the company is named and that the provider is also informed of the details of the case. Such a requirement would allow the financial services provider an opportunity to prepare for any potential queries. In order to guard against pre-emptive action by the financial services provider, the firm in question could agree to desist from making any public comment in advance of the case summary being published by the Financial Services Ombudsman, but would not, for example, be precluded from issuing a press release on the same day should they so choose.
Also, in the interests of balance, we believe that consideration should be given to publishing some case summaries which reflect positively on the practices of a particular financial services provider, such as in instances where a financial services provider has handled a complaint in an exemplary fashion or has been shown to have acted correctly.
We are happy to expand upon any aspect of this submission or respond to any queries that you may have in relation to it.