Complaints About Insurance

If you're unhappy about the way your policy or claim is handled, you should first complain to the company. If you used a broker or other intermediary, they might help you make your complaint. If the ordinary staff can't help, take your complaint to the manager of the branch you deal with. If you're still not happy, write to the head office of the company. If you don't have a contact, address your letter to the Complaints Manager, or phone first and ask who deals with complaints.

Alternatively, libraries keep directories listing the top officials in a company, together with the address of the head office.

If the company can't resolve the complaint to your satisfaction, you can take it to the Insurance Ombudsman, if the company is a member of this scheme - seep. 158 for further information. If the company doesn't belong to the Ombudsman scheme, it might be a member of the Personal Insurance Advisory Service, which can also act in the case of disputes.

Complaints concerning a registered broker should be taken up with the broker first, taking the complaint to the highest level in the firm if necessary. If you're still not satisfied, you could complain to:

Insurance Brokers Registration Council 15 St Helen's Place, London EC3 6DS Tel: 020-7588 4387

Alternatively, you could contact one of the relevant trade bodies if the broker is a member, for example:

British Insurance and Investment Brokers Association (BIIBAInstitute of Insurance Consultants (I IC)

If your complaint concerns a Lloyd's broker, contact:

Lloyd's Consumer Enquiries Department Lloyd's, 1 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ Tel: 020-7623 7100

If your complaint is with another type of intermediary, check whether they are displaying an ABI certificate showing that they are covered by the ABI Code of Conduct (seep. ). If they are and they are tied agents of one or more insurance companies, you could take your complaint to one of these insurers if the intermediary has been unable to settle the matter. Alternatively, you could contact:

Association of British Insurers

If the intermediary is not covered by the Code, check the notepaper used by them in any correspondence to see whether it displays the name or logo of a trade body, such as the 11C. If it does, try taking your complaint to them.

If you end up losing money because the insurance company you're claiming against goes bust, you may be able to get up to 90 per cent of any reasonable claim back through a compensation scheme set up under the Policyholders' Protection Act - see p. 165 for further details.

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Holiday Insurance Continued

Points to note

- If you're taking out your insurance through the tour operator, the information you get about the policy is often covered only briefly on the back page of the holiday brochure. Make sure you know exactly what the conditions are and, more importantly, the>- Some tour operators insist that you take out the insurance that they've arranged. This practice is legal, and at present the only thing you can do if you're not happy with the policy is to book your holiday through another operator.

- If you find a travel agent pushing you to take out a policy instead of, or in... see: Holiday Insurance Continued

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