FOS Publishes Complaints Data from the First Half of 2023

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has published data highlighting the number of complaints it has received about financial businesses in the first half of 2023.

The new figures show FOS received a total of 93,114 complaints between 1 January and 30 June 2023. This is significantly higher than the 79,921 complaints the FOS received in the last six months of 2022. 37% of complaints were upheld in the consumer’s favour in the first six months of 2023, compared to 34% in the previous second half of 2022. The FOS has also published data on funeral planning complaints for the first time.

Key figures shown below are the total number of complaints received in the first six months of 2023:

  • 56,690 new banking and credit complaints
  • 24,496 new general insurance/pure protection complaints
  • 5,002 new mortgages and home finance complaints
  • 4,189 new decumulation life and pension complaints
  • 2,593 new complaints about investments
  • 144 new complaints about funeral planning

Cases have notably increased within the banking and insurance sectors. Quarterly data from the FOS revealed building and motor insurance complaints have reached a five-year high, partly due to insurers delaying in paying out on claims while at the same time, contractor availability impacted the speed of repairs.

There has also been a substantial increase in banking and credit complaints, with around half of the rise attributed to fraud and scam-related cases.

In response to these figures, Abby Thomas, Chief Executive and Chief Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service, said: “Financial complaints have risen again, with cases particularly increasing in the banking and insurance sectors. It’s more important than ever that consumers feel protected. Whatever their grievance, consumers should expect fair and reasonable treatment from their provider”.

Read the half-yearly complaints data here.

There may be a number of reasons why a consumer might complain about an insurance product or service:

  • The consumer did not have the cover they expected when they bought the policy.
  • The consumer has not had the levels of service that they expect when it comes to making a claim.
  • The consumer did not understand the policy that they were buying, particularly the exclusions.
  • The consumer is not happy with a renewal quote or the addition of new fees.

Complaints are a valuable form of feedback that can help you and your staff assess outcomes, which is one of the key themes of the Consumer Duty. They provide your business with an opportunity to identify common and unusual root causes that you can positively change, ensuring that other customers do not have the same negative experience in the future. Additionally, complaints can highlight issues and errors in your processes that you may not have identified before. Some of these issues can be easily rectified.

It is important to understand that not every complainant is looking for compensation. Some may genuinely want to provide feedback on their dissatisfaction so that you can improve and prevent the same issue from happening again. When you learn from complaints and make positive changes, it is crucial to let the complainant know what you have done and the improvements you have made.

All firms, regardless of size, should have an appropriate complaints handling procedure. To achieve this, staff training in customer service and complaints handling is vital and should include methods of dealing with complaints through different media, whether it be in-person, over the telephone, in writing, or through social media. The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) also requires insurance intermediaries to have the minimum necessary knowledge of complaints handling.

Users of the Development Zone can access a range of curated modules relating to topics we have touched on in this article, including:

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About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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