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.

The Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2010 (PDF)

Complaint process

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.

Contact:
Insurance & Savings Ombudsman
PO Box 10845
Wellington 6143

www.iombudsman.org.nz

Freephone: 0800 888 202

Email: info@iombudsman.org.nz

Financial Services Complaints Limited ("FSCL")

Contact details:
Level 4, Legal House

101 Lambton Quay
Wellington
P O Box 5967
Wellington 6145
www.fscl.org.nz

Freephone: 0800 347 257

Email: info@fscl.org.nz

Banking Ombudsman scheme

Contact details:
Level 5, Huddart Parker Building

1 Post Office Square
Wellington 6011
PO Box 25327
Wellington 6146
www.bankomb.org.nz

Freephone: 0800 805 950

Email: help@bankomb.org.nz

Financial Dispute Resolution (the reserve scheme)

Contact details:
Level 9, 109 Featherston Street, Wellington 6011
Freepost 231075
P.O. Box 5730
Wellington 6145
www.fdr.org.nz

Freephone: 0508 337 337

Email: enquiries@fdrs.org.nz