New general insurance complaints to FOS rise in Q1

general insurance complaints

New general insurance complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) jumped 15% in the quarter from 1 April to 30 June 2017, according to Insurance Times calculations.

This was mainly driven by increases in personal motor, travel and specialist insurance (see table).

 Q1 2017Q1 2016change %change (number)
Car and motorcycle insurance 3,137 2,550 23.0 587
Buildings insurance 1,261 1,255 0.5 6
Travel insurance 763 601 27.0 162
Home emergency cover 568 512 10.9 56
Contents insurance 439 364 20.6 75
Specialist insurance 419 166 152.4 253
Pet and livestock insurance 408 335 21.8 73
Mobile phone insurance 279 159 75.5 120
Legal expenses insurance 172 174 -1.1 -2
Commercial vehicle insurance 109 157 -30.6 -48
Personal accident insurance 105 191 -45.0 -86
Card protection insurance 94 156 -39.7 -62
Commercial property insurance 71 124 -42.7 -53
Business protection insurance 54 80 -32.5 -26

But the good news for the industry is that the proportion of complaints upheld in favour of the customer fell for most lines of general insurance business.

Rising complaints

The ombudsman received 7,879 new general insurance complaints in the quarter, Insurance Times calculates, compared with 6,824 in the same quarter last year – an increase of 1,055 complaints.

The FOS reported that complaints about car and motorcycle insurance, the biggest source of general insurance complaints, rose 23% to 3,137 (Q1 2016: 2,550). This was an increase of 587 complaints, making up a large part of the increase for the quarter.

Big rises were also seen in travel insurance, where complaints rose 27% to 763 (Q1 2016: 601), specialist insurance, where complaints increased 152% to 419 (Q1 2016: 166) and mobile phone insurance, where complaints rose 76% to 279 (Q1 2016: 159).

Partly offsetting the increases were falls in commercial vehicle, personal accident, card protection, commercial property and business protection insurance.

Falling upheld rates

On a more positive note, upheld rates fell in all but three of the business lines Insurance Times included in its calculation for total general insurance complaints.

While car and motorcycle insurance drove the increase in number of complaints, the upheld rate for this business line held steady at 29%.

Specialist insurance upheld rates saw the biggest fall, with the upheld rate dropping 11 percentage points to 31% (Q1 2016: 41%).

The only lines where upheld rates increased were legal expenses insurance, with a nine-point rise to 31% (Q1 2016: 22%), and card protection insurance, with a 12-point rise to 34% (Q1 2016: 22%).

 Q1 2017Q1 2016 
  % of cases upheld % of cases upheld Change (points)
Car and motorcycle insurance 29 29 0
Buildings insurance 32 37 -5
Travel insurance 39 40 -1
Home emergency cover 45 46 -1
Contents insurance 27 29 -2
Specialist insurance 31 42 -11
Pet and livestock insurance 25 28 -3
Mobile phone insurance 37 38 -1
Legal expenses insurance 31 22 9
Commercial vehicle insurance 27 33 -6
Personal accident insurance 17 22 -5
Card protection insurance 34 22 12
Commercial property insurance 35 38 -3
Business protection insurance 23 33 -10

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