Report by the Chairperson of the Long-Term Insurance Ombudsman’s Committee
This has been a truly remarkable reporting period. The “soft” amalgamation between the offices of the Long-term Insurance Ombudsman and the Short-term Insurance Ombudsman was finalised, the details of which are more fully dealt within the Ombudsman’s report.
Suffice it to say that this initiative commanded the extensive attention of both the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman who had to balance the demands of the amalgamation with those thrust upon the office by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic brought not only considerable disruption, but also increased workloads for all the members and the office. Not only did we all have to cope with an influx of COVID-19-related claims and complaints, but we all had to adapt to a new way of working and interacting with the office.
Despite all of this the office continued to discharge its mandate seamlessly without let-up or hindrance. Our thanks and admiration go to all the staff at the office for their hard work and sacrifice during this time. Due to the lockdown restrictions the committee meetings were held via an electronic functionality and ran without any difficulties or objections. It seems that meetings will be held this way for the foreseeable future. The complaint volumes showed an increase from previous reporting periods – no doubt as a result of the pandemic. A heartening trend is that the W/P percentage of 31.73% is a decrease from the previous reporting period. The office received 14 198 written requests for assistance and 3 624 full cases were finalised. The office dealt with 456 COVID-19-related complaints.
Our members have again unanimously expressed their view that they enjoy a positive and constructive relationship with the office and that the well-considered and rigorous determinations they receive from the office are incorporated into their complaints handling processes. As always, I will end by saying on behalf of the committee that the office continues to provide the South African consumer with a world-class dispute resolution system.
For this our thanks go to the Ombudsman and each and every member of his staff.
Chairperson of the Ombudsman’s Committee