The Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance

logoThe Ombudsman… Keeping the peace between car insurance companies and their clients.

The Short-Term Insurance Ombudsman offers free and fair dispute resolution services to resolve issues between insurance companies and short-term policyholders of car insurance and other personal lines. So if you’ve for example had an accident with your car and you don’t agree with the outcome of the claim, you may go to the Ombudsman and lodge a complaint against your car insurance company. You may only do this however, after you’ve complained to your car insurance company first and you were unable to resolve the issue.

Why would car insurance and other personal lines insurance companies obey the Ombudsman?

The Short-term Insurance Ombudsman is a lawful entity that is officially recognised in the Financial Services Ombud Schemes Act. All short-term insurance companies of personal lines such as car insurance or home contents insurance have agreed to abide by the decisions made by the Ombudsman.

How do you know if your car insurance company is treating you unfairly?

All car insurance companies and any other company that offers financial services have to be registered with and comply with the regulations and stipulations of the Financial Services Board. In 2011, the Financial Services Board (FSB) launched the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) approach which dictates six core outcomes that all members of the FSB have to achieve in their operations. So to find out which of the car insurance companies are indeed treating their customers fairly, just check how they fare when you measure them on the following:

  1. The TCF principles must be embedded in the way they do business in such a way that you are convinced that it is part of their very DNA.
  2. Their products and services must be aligned with the actual needs of clients in the car insurance market.
  3. They must be completely transparent and provide their clients with clear and correct information on their car insurance products, right through from the quote stage to the sales and after sales service stages.
  4. They must offer sound car insurance advice that also speaks to their clients’ individual issues and circumstances when needed.
  5. They must be able to deliver on their promises and the expectation created about their car insurance products and services.
  6. There must be no nasty surprises after you signed up with them and you should be able to switch car insurance products if you needed to, submit a claim or file a complaint without unreasonable barriers.

How does the Ombudsman handle complaints of car insurance companies that treat their customers unfairly?

  • You must first complain with your car insurance company and you may only contact the Ombudsman’s office if you are unable to resolve the dispute.
  • The Ombudsman is an independent, neutral office and the investigations are completely objective.
  • The car insurance company will have to abide by the Ombudsman’s decisions, but it will not be binding on you.
  • The Ombudsman’s decisions can be based on lawful stipulations or on principles of fairness.
  • It is important to note that the Ombudsman is not a legal advisor though and does not extend legal advice.

Where can I get hold of the Short-Term Insurance Ombudsman to complain about my car insurance company?

To lodge a complaint against your car insurance company, you can simply go to www.osti.co.za, email info@osti.co.za or call the Ombudsman’s Office on +27 (0)11 726 8900.

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