The Financial Ombudsman Service stated that the 26% increase in complaints from consumers about motor insurance policies in the last financial year is “likely to reflect the tougher economic times”.
In that period there were 7,264 complaints about motor insurance matters. The ombudsman further stated “We are seeing more entrenched cases being harder fought, with less enthusiasm on either side for informally negotiated settlements.
“However, it is disappointing when insurers continue to pursue cases to the final stage – requesting final decisions from an ombudsman – in areas where our approach is well known and clearly set out.”
Perhaps if the consumer were to not only compare car insurance premiums on one or more car insurance comparison websites but, also, it may be a good idea to look at car insurance “review forums” for any comments from other consumers about their claims experience with car insurance companies.
Of the total number of brand new cases received at the Financial Ombudsman Service 3% were for motor insurance including car and van insurance.
The FOS made reference to the fact that in their previous annual review they had expressed concern about how thorough insurers investigate stolen vehicle claims saying
“insurers can still be too quick to assume that thefts are not genuine”.
The ombudsman said:”In these cases, we need to see that there has been a proper investigation. To be able to establish that fraud has taken place, there must be a very high degree of probability.”
“This means more than just suspicion. When we are considering a dispute like this, we expect the vehicle to have been thoroughly examined and the consumer to have had the opportunity to explain any perceived anomalies.
“We have also had concerns in some cases about the way in which the insurer has investigated issues around non-disclosure by the consumer.
“This has included disputes where the insurer had not properly considered whether the questions they asked the customer (or the questions on a comparison site) were sufficiently clear.
“And some cases we have seen that insurers have made assumptions that can be misleading, or have simply failed to ask the consumer for an explanation, in order to be able to consider whether any ‘non-disclosure’ was innocent, inadvertent or deliberate.”