For the first time in 10 years, more than half the complaints received by the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (Fidrec) were centred on financial institutions’ practices and policies, with 53.7% of the total of 903 complaints received for the year to 30 June 2015 related to such factors.
The complaints were about pricing policies, disputes on liability and claim amount awarded, policy values and investment returns.
In the previous nine years, the most number of complaints lodged had been about market conduct, including inappropriate advice, misrepresentation and aggressive sales tactics, according to Fidrec’s 2014/15 annual report.
Complaints against life insurers, banks and finance companies increasing
FIDReC, which was launched on 31 August 2005, said that between 1 September 2005 and 30 June 2015, 46.5% or 3,998 complaints it handled were against banks and finance companies, while 23.7% or 2,035 complaints were against life insurers. The rest of the complaints were made against general insurers (15.7% or 1,350 complaints), licensed financial advisers and insurance intermediaries (4.6% or 395 complaints) and capital markets services licensees (9.5% or 820 complaints).
The data showed that the number of complaints filed and handled against life insurers, banks and finance companies has gone up year on year.
For the year to June 2015, 331 complaints were filed against life insurers, up 9.6% from the previous financial year. Complaints filed against banks and finance companies climbed by 18.7% to 299. Complaints against general insurers fell by 15.4% to 203 cases, while those against licensed financial advisers and insurance intermediaries plunged by 76.6% to 43 for the year.
In a response, the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Singapore said that more initiatives will be introduced, that among other things would include yield to maturity (YTM) in benefit illustrations to give policyholders “a sense of the expected yield on their participating policies”. LIA will continue to “boost communication, transparency and standards” to drive fair dealing outcomes.