Changes Afoot at Dispute Resolution Provider


The chair of Financial Services Complaints Limited (FSCL) is anticipating changes to the rules the dispute resolution services works under according to its latest annual report – which also reveals complaints about insurance firms rose during the year.

FSCL’s annual report notes that complaints against insurers were “by far the largest proportion of cases investigated” this year at 43%, up on the 35% last year.

In total FSCL handled 931 complaints (up from 768 last year), 286 cases were resolved, and 1,370 consumers called the company for advice and information.

While complaints about insurers were higher than normal – life, health, and income insurance totalled just 14. There were nine complaints about life insurance products, two about health insurance, and three related to income protection schemes.

FSCL 2021 annual report cover
Download the full FSCL 2021 annual report.

Jane Mears, chair of the FSCL board writes that 2021 saw considerable change to many of the laws FSCL work with on a day-to-day basis and anticipates changes to its scheme’s rules by the end of this year.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is currently reviewing the approved financial dispute resolution schemes’ rules,” she writes.

“One of the likely changes is an increase in the scheme’s financial cap from $200,000 to $350,000.”

FSCL also wants to use the word ‘ombudsman’ in its title, a request that was declined by the Chief Ombudsman.

Mears says: “I am pleased to say that FSCL successfully reviewed the Chief Ombudsman’s decision refusing our use of the name, with the High Court finding that the Chief Ombudsman had pre-judged FSCL’s application.

“However, we have appealed the High Court’s order to the Court of Appeal as we would like the Court to direct the Chief Ombudsman to give FSCL use of the name, rather than referring our application for a further (third) consideration.”

In the 2021 year FSCL had total revenue of $1.82 million, operating costs were more than $2 million, and the company had an end-of-year surplus of more than $117,000.