FSS targets insurer gripes

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FSS targets insurer gripes

The Financial Supervisory Service has announced a package of measures that aims to effectively cut down on the number of consumer complaints to insurance companies for unfair, incomplete and unsatisfactory services.

The package was released yesterday by the financial watchdog after a series of discussions with 11 life and six non-life insurance companies.

Among the 65 measures was one urging insurers to reimburse 90 percent of fees for policies terminated early.

“We’re encouraging insurers to offer more new insurance policies that give back 90 percent of insurance policy fees for early terminations as we have found that consumers with these products are a twentieth as likely to file complaints as consumers who bought other policies,” said an FSS official.

The 65 measures are largely divided into four groups: consumer protection, sales, contract management and payouts.

Yesterday’s announcement came after FSS Gov. Choi Soo-hyun declared he would significantly reduce the number of consumer complaints against insurance companies.

In terms of consumer protection, the FSS will have insurers hire more staff to listen to consumers and offer responses tailored to individual needs.

For policy sales, the FSS asks insurers to have their agents fully explain crucial details of contracts.

In the area of contract management, the FSS wants companies to offer high-quality maintenance of policies.

The financial watchdog said it will keep tabs on whether insurers have complied with the new guidelines and evaluate their performance on a quarterly basis from October through September 2015. It will also release an index that gauges insurers’ overall consumer complaint capabilities twice a year to the public to help consumers compare and choose the best policies.

“We will encourage insurance companies to autonomously come up with their own ways to reduce the number of consumer complaints based on our new guidelines,” said Heo Chang-eon, deputy governor of the FSS. “Insurance firms that receive poor scores?during the evaluations?will be the subject to a meeting with FSS officials and FSS checkups.”

Promotions will be delayed for executives of insurance companies that fail to improve their customer service, Heo added.

“We have created the new guidelines after having seminars and workshops with industry people, so I think it should be no problem for insurers to make some improvements,” he said.

BY KIM MI-JU [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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