Raising a Complaint
Complaints are accepted by letter, email, telephone or face to face where it is practical, however, the FHT kindly requests that members complete the ‘Making a complaint about insurance’ form for the sake of clarity, as all insurance complaints must be referred to and discussed with Hiscox Ltd., the insurance underwriting company.
On receipt of a complaint, the complainant will be sent written acknowledgement within five business days of receipt. Where a complaint is received on a day other than a business day or after business of a business day, FHT will treat it as received on the next business day.
The Membership and Insurance Manager will review all incoming complaints as soon as possible and provide all relevant paperwork to Hiscox to conduct their investigation of the matter.
If the Membership and Insurance Manager is the subject of the complaint, the Executive Director will conduct the investigation and liaise with Hiscox to resolve the matter.
Making Decision on the Appropriate Course of Action
Following the review and discussion set out above, Hiscox must decide whether the complaint has validity and that redress is appropriate, or that the complaint is unjustified. If redress is felt to be appropriate, Hiscox will inform the complainant and FHT of this and the complainant will be provided with fair compensation for any acts or omissions for which it was responsible.
Appropriate redress will not always involve financial compensation. It may, for example, simply involve an apology. Where financial redress is deemed appropriate, it may include a reasonable rate of interest.
Time Limits for Dealing with a Complaint
When a complaint is received and it is not resolved by the close of business on the next working day, a written acknowledgement of the complaint will be sent within five business days of its receipt.
Unless the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant in the meantime, Hiscox must, within four weeks of receiving the complaint, send either;
- a final response or
- a holding response which explains why it is not yet in a position to resolve the complaint and indicate when further contact will be made (which must be within eight weeks of receipt of a complaint).
Hiscox must, by the end of eight weeks after receipt of a complaint, send the complainant either:
- a final response or
- a response which:
- explains that Hiscox is still not in a position to make a final response, gives reasons for the further delay and indicates when it expects to be able to provide a final response and;
- informs the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Services if he is dissatisfied with the delay. A copy of the Financial Ombudsman Services explanatory leaflet will also be enclosed.
- If the complainant takes more than a week to reply to a written response, the additional time in excess of a week will not count towards the four week and eight week time periods.
When Hiscox sends a complainant its final response, this response must:
- inform the complainant that he may refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service if he is dissatisfied with the final response and that he must do so within six months; and
- enclose a copy of the Financial Ombudsman Services Explanatory leaflet (unless this has already been done).
Record Keeping Requirements
It is vital that satisfactory records relating to complaints are made and retained for a minimum period of three years from the date of its receipt from the complainant. These records are required for the purpose of monitoring by the FCA and also to ensure that Hiscox and FHT are able to co-operate, as necessary, with the Financial Ombudsman Service. They must therefore include:
- the name of the complainant
- the substance of the complaint
- any correspondence between the Hiscox, FHT and the complainant including details of any redress offered by Hiscox
- documentation relating to the referral of the complaint.
Dealing with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
The Financial Ombudsman Service is the body to which complainants may turn if they do not feel they have received a satisfactory response to their complaint from Hiscox.
You can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service for an independent review of your complaint if for any reason you are still dissatisfied with our final response, or if we have not issued our final response within eight weeks of you first raising the complaint. The Financial Ombudsman Service can only consider your complaint provided you are a personal customer or business customer with a turnover under £1m per annum, and have given us a reasonable opportunity to resolve your case.
The details below are for the Financial Ombudsman Service within the UK.
The Financial Ombudsman Service
The Ombudsman cannot consider a complaint if the complainant refers it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS):
- less than eight weeks after the complaint has been received by Hiscox, unless Hiscox has already sent the complainant its final response or given permission for the FOS to investigate; or
- more than six months after the date on which Hiscox sends its final response advising the complainant that he may refer his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service; or
- more than six years of the event that is being complained about happening, or if later than six years, more than three years of the member reasonably knowing that something had happened.
The Ombudsman can consider complaints outside the time limits above when, in his view, the failure to comply with the time limits was as a result of exceptional circumstances or where he is required to do so by the Ombudsman Transitional Order, or where FHT has not objected to the Ombudsman considering the complaint.