Complaints referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service have fallen to their lowest levels since 2012

Complaints against the UK’s top general insurers (excluding PPI) have fallen over the first six months of 2014, according to data released today by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The ombudsman received 6,362 complaints against 13 of the top general insurers, the lowest level of recorded complaints since 2012 and an 11% reduction on the 7,185 complaints received over the first half of last year (see chart, below).

Direct Line Group (DLG) was the most complained about insurer with 1,244 complaints, while Aviva (844) and Lloyds Bank (816) finished off the top three (see table, below). Ageas was the insurer with the highest proportion of complaints upheld by the FOS (44%) followed by AXA (42%) and DLG (40%).

Insurer Complaints Received Upheld Rate
Direct Line Group 1,244 40%
Aviva 844 31%
Lloyds Bank 816 26%
AXA 602 42%
Ageas 584 44%
RSA 462 31%
Admiral 330 24%
LV= 309 29%
Allianz 283 35%
L&G 276 27%
Zurich 240 29%
Co-op 203 32%
Esure 169 22%

Overall, general insurance complaints have fallen 7.5% to 12,768 from 13,805 for H1 2013. But the number of complaints resolved in favour of the customer has been rising.

The FOS found in favour of the customer in 36% of cases over the first half of 2014, up from 32% for the same period in 2013, but this is still a decrease on H2 2013, when 40% of cases were upheld by the ombudsman.

Chief ombudsman Caroline Wayman said: “During the first half of 2014 there’s been a marked change in the type of complaints consumers are asking us to resolve – as underlying attitudes become more entrenched and the issues involved get more complex.

 “We’re seeing more and more people turn to us in frustration where they feel their bank or insurer simply doesn’t understand or really care. And we’re hearing growing dissatisfaction from people about being processed industrially as a number rather than being listened to as an individual customer.”

Part one of an exclusive analysis of complaints referred to the FOS in 2013, including an insurer-by-insurer breakdown by three key complaint types, appears in the 3 September issue of Insurance Times, published this week.