FSPO Overview of complaints in 2020

Financial Service and Pensions Ombudsman Overview of complaints in 2020


This week saw the publication of the FSPO’s annual overview of complaints report for 2020. Complaints relating to insurance products and services represent almost a third of all complaints received in 2020. Motor and travel insurance were the main product types complained about, representing more than 40% of insurance complaints.

The top six complaints relating to insurance in 2020 were as follows:

  • Claims Handling – 27%
  • Rejection of claim – 10%
  • Premium rate increases – 5%
  • Rejection of claim and cancellation of policy – 5%
  • Customer service- 4%

Complaints relating to claims amounted to 42% of total complaints in 2020, the same percentage as in 2019. However, these complaints were broken down three ways in 2020 – claims handling (27%), rejection of claim (10%) and rejection of claim and cancellation of policy (5%) whereas in 2019 complaints were broken down two ways – claims handling (14%) and rejection of claim (28%). The other noteworthy feature of these statistics is that there was a reversal in the trend in 2020 with claims handling accounting for a higher proportion of complaints than rejection of claims whereas the opposite was true in 2019. This may simply be a categorisation issue and there may some overlap between the two categories anyway.

One to watch is the new rejection of claim and cancellation of policy category (5%). This category was raised by the FSPO in a meeting with Insurance Ireland towards the end of last year. The FSPO raised concerns that the level of complaints relating to policies being cancelled at point of claim was increasing. There are a number of reasons for this, most likely non-disclosure on the part of the policyholder at application. However, the introduction of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act (CICA) should mitigate some of these issues and we would expect complaints in this category to decrease going forward.

Travel insurance was the most complained about product, followed by private health insurance and commercial insurance.

Pension scheme complaints represented 4% of all complaints received in 2020. These complaints relate to public and private occupational pension schemes, trust Retirement  Annuity Contracts (RACs) and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs). The highest level of complaints related to calculation of pension benefits followed by the information given/not given.

There were 415 Covid-19 complaints about insurance with 124 relating specifically to Business Interruption.

The FSPO resolved 2,960 complaints through the Dispute Resolution Service. 1,541 complaints reached a settlement where the complainants received redress and/or compensation. A further 1,255 complaints were settled where a clarification was accepted by the complaint. 16 complaints were closed through engagement with the complainant only. A total of 52 complaints were closed when the parties reached a settlement themselves and 69 were withdrawn by the complainant. The remaining 27 were closed within the Dispute Resolution Service as they were intended for another Ombudsman or the complainant had resolved the issue with their provider already

Insurance Ireland continues to work with FSPO and policymakers on conduct and consumer issues, supported by our Culture and Conduct Risk Committee (CCRC) as well as various other working groups. If you would like more detail on the work in this area, please contact Jacqueline Thornton and Michael Horan.

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