Dispute Resolution Schemes
What is a Dispute Resolution Scheme?
Disputes resolution schemes exist to resolve disputes between insurers and their customers. If you have a complaint about your insurer that your insurer cannot resolve, you can refer your complaint to your insurer's independent dispute resolution scheme, free of charge.
Insurers must belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2010 if the insurer provides its services to retail clients (i.e. consumers).
The disputes resolution schemes are licensed by the Minister of Consumer Affairs under this Act, and must be independent, fair, accessible, accountable, efficient and effective.
Insurers belong to one of two approved dispute resolution schemes, Financial Services Complaints Limited or the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman. Their contact details are below.
If you have a complaint about your insurer, the first step is to complain to the insurer directly. Each insurer has an internal complaints process which you can contact to try to resolve your complaint.
If you and your insurer are unable to resolve the complaint, your insurer will send you a letter confirming that your complaint is "deadlocked". You can then take your complaint to the insurer's independent, external dispute resolution scheme.
The dispute resolution schemes have some limits on what complaints they can consider. Because the schemes are for the benefit of consumers, they can only take complaints from individuals or small organisations with 19 or less full time employees. They can also only consider complaints where less than $200,000 in financial loss is disputed: any more than this amount will need to be disputed in the High Court.
The disputes resolution schemes investigate complaints and try to resolve them by negotiation or mediation where possible.
Insurance & Savings Ombudsman (ISO) scheme
The ISO is the most common scheme utilised by insurers. Since 1995, the ISO Scheme has provided an independent and free service for thousands of customers of financial service providers. Each year the ISO Scheme responds to over 3,000 complaint enquiries and resolves around 300 formal complaints.
Insurance & Savings Ombudsman
PO Box 10845
Freephone: 0800 888 202
Financial Services Complaints Limited ("FSCL")
Level 4, Legal House
101 Lambton Quay
P O Box 5967
Freephone: 0800 347 257
Banking Ombudsman scheme
Level 5, Huddart Parker Building
1 Post Office Square
PO Box 25327
Freephone: 0800 805 950
Financial Dispute Resolution (the reserve scheme)
Level 9, 109 Featherston Street, Wellington 6011
P.O. Box 5730
Freephone: 0508 337 337