In an effort to assist complainants who are unsure where to lodge an insurance complaint, a new portal or gateway has been launched.
The introduction of the additional point of entry for complaints relating to insurance products coincides with the coming into office of a joint Ombudsman for long-term (life) and short-term (non-life) insurance complaints from 1 January 2020.
Retired Judge McLaren, the current Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance, in addition takes over the adjudicative role in the office of the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance. Judge Ron McLaren brings with him a wealth of judicial experience and knowledge in dealing with and resolving insurance disputes. Edite Teixeira-Mckinon has been appointed by the Board of the office of the Short-term Insurance Ombudsman as Chief Executive Officer of the office of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance and will head up all operations.
For some time, National Treasury has advocated a self-rationalisation process for the four statutorily recognised voluntary financial services ombudsman schemes, namely long-term insurance, short-term insurance, banking and credit.
Against the backdrop of changes in the policy and insurance environment, the Boards of both insurance ombudsman schemes made an in-principle decision to enter into a shared services agreement and have a joint Ombudsman for the adjudication of both long-term and short-term insurance complaints.
The office of the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance and the office of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance will remain in existence and continue to operate separately within their current defined jurisdictions.
Judge McLaren said the single port of entry will be a welcome facility for complainants who are uncertain at which office to lodge a complaint. Complainants of both life and non-life insurance can also continue to use the existing entry points. If a complaint needs to be transferred to the other office, it will be a seamless process.
The portal provides complainants with the following contact points: