Review calls for league table of complaints against insurers and brokers.

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) should name and shame insurers and brokers that have numerous complaints against them upheld, according to a review by Lord Hunt.

Hunt’s six-month independent review into the service and its relationship with the financial services industry, consumers and other stakeholders called on the FOS to create a league table of financial services firms, and ‘wooden spoon’ awards for those facing the highest number of complaints.

Complaints from the general public are referred to the ombudsman when the firms in question oppose them.

Hunt said: “We’d like to see best practice highlighted so that everyone can benchmark themselves against the FOS criteria for being fair and reasonable in all circumstances towards customers, clients and the consumer. That would be an incentive to those who aren’t performing well to raise their game.”

Hunt added that the general insurance industry has a good record with the FOS compared with other sectors.

He said: “Main areas of complaint concern the banking community and product providers, not intermediaries. We say each of the sectors should have an opportunity to prove they’re the best in the business.”

But law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain said in a statement: “Firms should feel entitled to oppose claims that they feel have no merit. The threat of being awarded a wooden spoon could cut the ground from under them.

“Singling out a single firm for a wooden spoon would also be unfair as the complaints record of that firm may differ from that of the next, unnamed firm by just a fraction of a per cent.”

Meanwhile the ABI welcomed the review’s stance that the FOS should be more transparent.

But an ABI spokesman said: “Lord Hunt is right to say that proposals on publication of data will be controversial. We agree that there should be a proper dialogue between all interested parties, before a decision is taken on the publication of firm-specific data.”

The full review titled Opening up, Reaching Out and Aiming High can be found on the FOS website.