The ombudsman for long-term insurance has published its full year report for 2017, showing which insurers in the sector have received the most complaints over the past year.
According to the ombud’s report, the office received 5,435 chargeable cases in 2017 – up from 5,284 in 2016 – of which 3,371 were finalised.
“In a challenging year the ombudsman for Long-term Insurance (OLTI) maintained a steady pace and collected R193.3 million for complainants amid the strain of staff losses, but never wavering from performance standards,” the office said.
“We managed to close 3,371 full cases (3,324 in 2016) of the 4,336 we considered during the year, despite the challenges with adjudicative staff numbers due to illness and death. It required a concerted effort on our part to maintain our performance standards,” it said.
Most complaints (49.46%) were about claims denied by insurers, followed by poor service from insurers. Compensation of R531,429 was awarded to complainants in 150 complaints for poor service by insurers.
The two largest categories of complaint were in the funeral and life insurance sectors, representing 37% and 33% of total complaints. These two sectors have historically always been the most-complained about areas.
This was followed by disability cover (11%), health (10%) and credit insurance (9%).
Most complained-about insurers
As with most ombud reports, the number of complaints received about any specific company is tied to its client base – that is, a company with many clients is likely to receive more complaints.
However, one way to measure which are the ‘worst offenders’ is to see how many complaints were resolved in favour of the complainants versus the insurer.
For instance, Old Mutual Life Assurance received the most complaints overall (847), but only a quarter of those (25.4%) were resolved in favour of clients. Hollard Life Assurance received fewer complaints (485), but had more cases resolved in favour of clients (35.3%).
The table below outlines the companies with the highest number of cases finalised in favour of clients, among those that received more than 100 complaints.
The table below contains the full data set ordered by name.