The FCA has published the complaints figures for regulated firms for the second half of 2019. The data shows an increase in complaints from 4.29 million in the first half of 2019 to 6.02 million.
This increase has been mainly driven, the regulator says, by a 75% increase in the volume of PPI complaints received. PPI complaints made up 62% of all complaints received during this period, and, as such, continued to be the most complained about product. Aside from PPI, the volume of complaints received increased from 2.18 million to 2.31 million between the first and second half of 2019.
Overall, the most complained about products were PPI, current accounts, credit cards and other general insurance products.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, firms are still expected to continue to deal with complaints promptly. They should aim to resolve complaints within 8 weeks (15 days for payments firms). However, given the pressure that the current situation is likely to put on firms, firms should contact the FCA where they anticipate that they will be prevented from providing a prompt complaints service.
If a complaint cannot be resolved within the timelines outlined above, the firm should contact the customer in writing to explain why they have not met the deadline.
A sound understanding of complaints handling, according to FCA rules, is important as it is also one of the eight core knowledge requirements under the IDD i.e. insurance intermediaries must “demonstrate the minimum necessary knowledge of complaints handling”. Therefore, those involved in the insurance distribution chain must demonstrate the necessary knowledge in complaints, proportionate to their individual role.
The definition of a complaint, according to the FCA, is set out in their Handbook.
For further information and guidance on the FCA’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, go here: https://www.fca.org.uk/coronavirus