Ratings
Value for money
Customer service
Clarity of policy rules
Claims handling
Speed of claims resolution
Insurance Company Ranking

Financial Ombudsman

Write an insurance review for Financial Ombudsman Service here or scroll down to read other reviews.

Click the stars to rate
Value for money
Customer service
Clarity of policy rules
Claims handling
Speed of claims resolution

1 Review of Financial Ombudsman Service

  1. John

    I wrote to the Financial Ombudsman Service in October 2012 to make a complaint against my insurance company for what I thought were deliberate and unnecessary delays in settling a claim for home buildings insurance. The insurance company had admitted that they were in the wrong and that I had experienced unnecessary delays but stated that they would only pay an amount of compensation that equalled around 2 per cent of the claim, which I disputed as I had spent a lot of time fighting the case. Having looked up what you can do if an insurance company refuses to talk to you about a dispute, I asked the Financial Ombudsman (also known as FSO) to adjudicate. I’m writing the following review to show why, in my opinion, the Ombudsman offes poor service levels and why they are not a decent substitute for legal action. I found them to be over-worked and under-resourced resulting in a terrible standard of service. My score isn’t because the Ombudsman found in favour of the insurance company, but rather due to the amount of time it took them to come to a decision, the lack of transparency in the process and the lack of power to interact with them and share information and/or talk about delays which, in my case, made an already frustrating situation even more frustrating and stressful. The first part of the process which caused a delay was that I was told that I had to exhaust my insurance company’s internal complaints procedure. Fair enough – I did this – it took around 16 weeks. I then formally submitted all the necessary paperwork to the Ombudsman and received a letter which stated that my complaint would be investigated within a maximum of 12 weeks (and likely sooner). After 12 weeks I contacted them to ask about the status of my complaint and I was told that because of an “unusually large volume of complaints” it would be a further 4 weeks before my case would be looked at. I then received a boilerplate letter asking for more details about my claim, which showed no understanding of what I thought had gone wrong with the claims process. I asked about the decision making process, but received no reply. Then in June of this year (1 year after the initial problems with my claim and over 7 months after submitting my forms to the FOS), I received a letter stating that as the Ombudsman had been told by my insurance company that they had paid “significant compensation” as part of the settlment of my claim (although this was listed as £100 in the evidence that I submitted to the Ombudsman), the decision was that my insurance company was acting “reasonably” to put right their mistakes. From my point of view, I had been paid less than the minimum compensation amount and the insurance company had spent nearly 7 months trying to delay/deny the claim – if I hadn’t been as persistent they would have paid nothing and saved themselves a significant amount of money. I was told by the Ombudsman that I had 4 weeks to appeal. I immediately appealed on the grounds that I thought there were factual inaccuracies in the Ombudsman’s summary of the case (e.g. the Ombudsman took it as a fact that my insurance company sent me a cheque as compensation which wasn’t the case and accepted that the work they did on my bathroom somehow included an amount for compensation, which just wasn’t the case). In my opinion the Ombudsman Service were simply taking the insurance company at their word without investigating the facts of the case. I heard nothing about my appeal. 2 months later, I wrote in to follow this up and still heard nothing. Today I sent an email (over 14 weeks after appealing and approaching one year after asking the FOS to investigate) and was told “It would appear that your previous email has not been logged onto our system” and that they would now look into the “archives” to consider my appeal. It’s been nearly one year and I still don’t feel that there has been an independent assessment of the facts of my case but rather a very delayed, biased (as in erring on the side of the insurance company) and dis-jointed view of events. My advice? Take out a small claims court action – it would have been quicker and, I’m sure, more effective in my case and, even if I had lost, I would have felt that there had been a fair hearing of the facts rather than a myopic assessment that is always stacked in favour of the large financial institutions and seems more about grinding down the consumer until they give in on getting what is owed to them than it is about a truly neutral assessment of the facts aimed at delivering fair decisions in a timely manner. Am I biased? Probably, as the FSO found against me but they have taken a year and I don’t feel that I have been listened to – they could have at least ignored me quicker! It will be interesting to see what proportion of people list a positive experience…

    13 people found this review helpful.
    Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No

    Value for moneyNot RatedCustomer serviceClarity of policy rulesClaims handlingSpeed of claims resolutionInsurance Company Ranking