How to Resolve an Insurance ComplaintMarch 02, 2016
When it comes to dealing with an auto insurer, it is rarely a satisfying experience for Ontario consumers. Insured-insurer communication is wrought with a power imbalance created, at least in part, by the lack of public knowledge. Quite often we feel helpless and frustrated by how our auto insurer handles our complaints.
The public is generally uninformed about their rights against an auto insurer. We are invited to accept that the insurance representative is competent enough to answer our questions fully and deal with our complaints fairly. This is naïve thinking. One should at least suspect that the insurance representative’s advice might be self-serving.
Imagine a scenario where Joe Insured receives his auto policy renewal papers, which state that his comprehensive coverage deductible would be increased because of the excessive number of claims under this coverage in the preceding year. Joe Insured’s first call is to his Insurer Co., which predictably repeats the same reasoning for raising the deductible. Joe Insured suspects that he might have been wronged as he had only one small comprehensive coverage claim in the previous year but chooses to accept what his insurance representative tells him. It is likely that Joe Insured will not do anything beyond that. He is otherwise happy with his auto policy.
Auto insurance consumers, such as Joe Insured, should know that when it comes to insurance complaints they have access to some information and dispute resolution processes. In Ontario, automobile insurance is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (“FSCO”), a regulatory agency of the Ontario Ministry of Finance. FSCO posts a lot of user-friendly information about automobile insurance on its website: fsco.gov.on.ca. On the website the consumers can find some answers to their questions about premiums and coverages, among many others.
So, what can Joe Insured do in his situation? A good first step would be visiting FSCO website for guidance and speaking to FSCO to see if he can obtain more information about his issue. Equipped with some knowledge, Joe Insured can contact his insurance company’s complaint officer in order to try to resolve the dispute. The list of the complaint officers can be found at the FSCO website. If that doesn’t work, another venue is engaging an Independent Ombuds Service, which will review the dispute. It is important to remember that although it is not necessary to hire a lawyer, some consumers might benefit from finding one to write a letter to the Ombuds Service on their behalf.
While some issues can be resolved between the consumers and their insurer via dispute resolution mechanisms outlined above, if you have been involved in an accident of any kind, it would be prudent to contact a personal injury lawyer right away for advice and assistance. Please call 1-855-446-7765 today for a free consultation.
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