Ombudsman registers jump in insurance firm complaints

COMPLAINTS about insurance companies rose by 84 per cent last year as firms tightened their belts during the economic crisis, sometimes at the expense of customer services.<br /><br />A Financial Ombudsman Service report, published yesterday, says it handled a record 127,471 new disputes about firms in all sectors over the last year and a staggering 789,877 enquiries, as irate customers flocked to log grievances.<br /><br />The number of complaints about mortgages, credit cards and consumer credit rose by 34 per cent, the Ombudsman said. There was also a three-fold increase in complaints about controversial payment protection insurance. Complaints about mortgage endowments, however, fell by more than half.<br /><br />Chairman of the ombudsman service, Sir Christopher Kelly, said: &ldquo;As businesses tighten their belts &ndash; and the credit crunch leads to increased financial difficulty for consumers &ndash; we are gearing up to deal with further volatility in complaint volumes.&rdquo;<br /><br />He said the body resolved 113,949 disputes, a 14 per cent annual increase, with its involvement resulting in compensation for consumers in 57 per cent of cases.