Insurer records 557 new complaints in six months, ahead of Aviva (435) and RSA (412)

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AXA came ahead of RSA and Aviva for general insurance complaints in 2012, according to the latest Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) figures.

The insurer racked up 557 new general insurance complaints - excluding payment protection insurance (PPI) - for the first six months to 30 June 2012.

Aviva was in third place with 435 complaints, and RSA fourth at 412. AXA has a smaller general insurance premium book in the UK than Aviva and RSA, and the number of complaints to the FOS may therefore cause the company some concern.

Ageas was in seventh place with 356 complaints while Co-operative Insurance Society chalked up 241 unhappy customers.

The biggest overall offender was UK Insurance Ltd, better known as Direct Line Group (DLG), with 1,541 complaints.

The FOS did not break down the complaints for each of DLG’s individual brands, which include Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. The group is the largest personal lines insurer in the UK.

As well as publishing new complaints data, the FOS released information on the percentage of complaints that were upheld in the consumers’ favour.

These results reported that only 45% of AXA’s general insurance cases were settled in the customers’ favour, compared with a 51%
average across all FOS-monitored financial firms.

Aviva had 41% of its complaints upheld, RSA had 43%, Ageas had 41%, UK Insurance had 54%, but Co-operative Insurance Society had no results published.

The firm with the most complaints upheld against it was BISL Ltd, which trades as Budget, Bennetts, Junction and Dial Direct, among others.

The bulk of the FOS’s work comes from PPI complaints, which made up 60% of its new cases, according to the watchdog’s last annual review for the period between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012.

The FOS also found that 26.5% of non-PPI general insurance complaints in the period were about motor insurance, and that these rose to 7,264 from 5,784 the year before.

Shame list Top 10 UK firms for GI complaints

Firms with the most general insurance complaints made:

1. UK Insurance Ltd 1,541
2. AXA 557
3. Aviva 435
4. RSA 412
5. Inter Partner Assistance 383
6. HSBC Bank 371
7. Ageas 356
8. Co-operative Insurance 241
9. Lloyds TSB Bank 218
10. St Andrews Insurance 211

Firms with the most general insurance complaints upheld:

1. BISL Ltd 87%
2. E Insurance Services 82%
3. Aria Insurance Services 79%
4. Card Protection Plan 79%
5. Inter Partner Assistance 73%
6. Homecare Insurance 63%
7. Red Sands Insurance 63%
8. Homeserve Membership 62%
9. Advantage Insurance Co 61%
10. St Andrews Insurance 61%

Source: Financial Ombudsman Service