UK automobile insurance coverage complaints speed up

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Complaints to the UK Monetary Ombudsman referring to motor and buildings insurance coverage have surged this yr, as delays in declare settlements gas rising public discontent over ballooning premiums.

The Monetary Ombudsman obtained 3,869 complaints about automobile and motorbike insurance coverage between April and June. The determine was up from 2,524 in the identical interval final yr and a greater than 50 per cent year-on-year improve, in response to information launched by the Monetary Ombudsman Service.

The surge in complaints comes amid rising public concern about rising premiums. The typical annual automobile insurance coverage premium reached a document £776 within the second quarter of 2023, in response to’s automobile insurance coverage value index, 40 per cent increased than a yr earlier.

The Affiliation of British Insurers mentioned insurers had been decided to make sure motor insurance coverage was competitively priced however the rising prices of repairs, vitality, labour and substitute elements had made this “more and more difficult.”

The commerce physique additionally mentioned that it was “involved” in regards to the surge in complaints and it will work with its members to be taught from upheld complaints.

Column chart of Average insurance cover price showing The price of car insurance has reached a record high

The rise in motor insurance-related complaints was pushed by a 90 per cent leap in instances about delays in claims in addition to complaints linked to assert values and declined claims, the Ombudsman mentioned. A scarcity of contractor availability in addition to difficulties to supply materials had additionally hit the velocity of repairs, it added.

“Having the suitable insurance coverage is prime and may supply individuals the peace of thoughts that, when issues go fallacious, they’re protected,” mentioned Abby Thomas, chief govt and chief ombudsman on the Monetary Ombudsman Service. “The place these complaints are pushed by insurers delaying paying out on claims that’s unacceptable.”

Line chart of Q1 complaints linked to delays showing Complaints about motor insurance delays have surged

The automobile insurance coverage sector has been beneath regulatory scrutiny lately. The Monetary Conduct Authority mentioned final December that it had seen proof that motor insurance coverage clients whose vehicles had been written off in a crash had obtained payouts decrease than truthful market worth.

In June, the regulator ordered Direct Line to overview claims paid out between 2017 and 2022. This month, the motor insurer mentioned it will spend £30mn refunding customers it overcharged for dwelling and motor cowl.

The variety of complaints associated to constructing insurance coverage rose to 1,776 instances in the beginning of the monetary yr, in contrast with 1,642 in the identical interval final yr. Journey insurance coverage instances, in the meantime, greater than doubled since final yr to 1,101, the very best determine for journey insurance coverage complaints in additional than a decade.  

Rachel Lam, the Ombudsman insurance coverage director, mentioned journey confidence was rising after the Covid-19 pandemic that introduced the sector to a halt, however insurers wanted to behave responsibly because it continued to rebound.

Alongside complaints about insurance coverage, the opposite most complained about merchandise on this quarter had been present accounts, bank cards and rent buy (motor). Complaints about all these merchandise have elevated year-on-year.

Automotive and motorbike insurance coverage instances represented 36 per cent of all complaints to the Ombudsman within the first quarter of the monetary yr, in contrast with 29 per cent over the identical interval final yr. Buildings insurance coverage complaints, in the meantime, represented 40 per cent of all claims over the interval.


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