This is the headline from ABC News on the 23rd February 2012. To read the entire article please go to http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-23/insurance-ombudsman-urges-staff-training/3847102.
In a nutshell Ombudsman John Price told AM there must be a greater focus on training and communication in the industry to ensure frontline staff provide customers with clear information.
Policies do not clearly inform individuals, and it’s not only the consumer that’s confused – it’s also the salespeople that are confused," Mr Price said.
And if the salespeople trained by the industry are confused as to what the cover offers then how do you expect the consumer to understand?"
The industry is trying to head off tougher regulation of policies and payouts after complaints that some claims were either unpaid or unresolved.
It is for exactly this reason that LMI developed and maintain the on line product comparitor website www.policycomparison.com . The site compares over 3,000 policies, providing a link to each wording and tens of thousands dating back to 1900.
The focus on the site is understanding policy coverage not price. In addition to the comparisons, the site has a Points to Consider section which explains the relevance of each section of the policy and trips to be careful of. There is also a library of insurance related articles and papers.
It takes a dedicated team of 16 staff to keep the site constantly up to date. Only 1 insurer is known not to subscribe. All insurance brokers in Australia subscribe as does the Financial Ombudsmen Service themselves.
While I do not wish to contradict the General Insurance Ombudsmen, I can give him comfort that the problem is not universal with over 250,000 comparisions done on the site each year and the usage rates increasing every month. As a subscriber themselves, it must be disheartening to FOS to know that the training and comparison site is available to the sellers of insurance and yet not all make the most of it. This is a feeling, as the inventor of the site, naturally share.
On a positive note, the value of the service has been appreciated in other jurisdictions. It is already available in New Zealand and this year will be available in the UK, South Africa and the United States.
To take a tour of the services provided by the site go to http://www.policycomparison.com/taketour.aspx .