Brokers and insurers feature in top five

FOS complaints

One Insurance had the highest percentage of upheld general insurance complaints in the first half of 2016, according to the latest data from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The Malta-based insurer, which writes UK business through broker One Call insurance Services, had 75% of the complaints against it upheld in favour of the customer. This is up from 63% in the second half of 2015 and 42% in the first half of 2015.

Top five companies by upheld general insurance complaints

Upheld rate (%)New complaints (number)
CompanyH1 2016H2 2015H1 2015H1 2016H2 2015H1 2015
One Insurance 75 63 42 63 39 40
MCE Insurance Company* 72 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Unum 59 80 68 61 55 74
Solid Försäkringar 54 52 56 45 62 40
Be Wiser Insurance Services 53 29 35 54 47 43

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*Companies only appear in the data if they have received more than 30 complaints

The upheld rate compares with an average upheld rate of 32% for general insurance complaints in total.

One Call Insurance Services itself was in 12th place with a 45% upheld rate for general insurance complaints.

Also in the top five are Gibraltar-based insurer MCE Insurance Company with a general insurance upheld rate of 72%, income protection and health insurer Unum with 59%, Swedish travel and motor insurer Solid with 54%, and personal lines broker Be Wiser with 53%.

One Insurance, MCE and Solid were all contacted for comment, but had not replied before publication.

A spokeswoman for Unum said: “Unum takes every complaint seriously and examines each one in order to learn and improve, working closely with the FOS. Over the last few years, we have made numerous enhancements to our claims process which is fair and robust. We are delighted to see evidence of this in our improved overturn rate for H1 2016.”

Unum’s first-half 2016 upheld rate of 59% is a big improvement on the 80% the FOS reported for the company in the second half of 2015.

But Be Wiser chief executive Mark Bower-Dyke said that the percentage upheld rate is not a fair reflection of his company’s complaints response. He said that tackling claims early means that only a small number of claims from Be Wiser make it as far as the FOS, which handles complaints that companies and customers are not able to resolve between themselves.

Be Wiser received 54 new complaints in the first half of 2016, compared with 47 in the second half of 2015 and 43 in the first half of 2015.

Because of the small number of complaints, only a small number need to be upheld to generate a high upheld percentage, Bower-Dyke argued.

He told Insurance Times: “I don’t think having a percentage of upheld complaints is a very true reflection. We don’t allow most complaints to reach that stage and so the number of complaints are quite low. If you have got a low number of complaints and some are upheld, the percentage can still be quite high.”