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Home Insurance Policy Cancellation? You've got options!
There’s an office in your insurance company worth knowing about. Federal legislation requires insurance companies to employ someone solely for fielding complaints from consumers. They’re usually called Complaints Liaison Officers or Ombudspersons. If you've got a complaint about a policy cancellation or underwriting decision, contacting the company ombudsperson can be the next step.
How do I use my insurance company's Ombudsperson?
All insurance companies are obligated to develop and promote procedures for dealing with complaints. You can find these documents on the company’s website. If the procedure requires you to discuss your complaint with the section manager, then do so. Barring any satisfactory resolution with the manager, call the ombudsperson. You can find an up-to-date directory for the ombudspersons in Ontario here.
What can the Ombudsperson do for me?
It’s the ombudsperson’s job to listen to your complaint. Although they are employed by your insurance company, ombudspersons inhabit a unique niche—acting as a liaison between you and the company. If they find a discrepancy with the company’s decision, they’ll work to fix it. But if they side with the company, they’ll give you a letter outlining the rationale behind the company’s decision.
What if I'm still unsatisfied after speaking with the Ombudsperson?
You’ve still got options. There are a slew of independent agencies focused on resolving complaints between consumers and insurance companies. In Canada, the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork is a good place to start. The network is separated into the General Insurance OmbudService (for home, auto and business insurance) and the OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance. They’ll want to see the decision letter from your company’s ombudsperson. If they believe your complaint is legitimate, they’ll host conciliation or mediation meetings with company’s ombudsperson in an attempt to reach a resolution.
SOURCE: Brian Maltman, Executive Director of the General Insurance Ombudservice as well as the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.