“As from January 1 2020, retired Judge Ron McLaren will be the single watchdog for both the short-term (non-life) and long-term (life) insurance industries,” BusinessLive reported yesterday.
According to the article, the two ombud offices will continue to operate separately within their current defined jurisdictions, but with a single port of entry for complainants who may be uncertain at which office to lodge a complaint. This will go live on 1 February 2020.
The OSTI board says the National Treasury has, for some time, advocated a self-rationalisation process for the four, statutorily recognised, voluntary financial services ombudsman schemes, namely long-term insurance, short-term insurance, banking and credit.
“Against the backdrop of changes in the policy and insurance environment, the boards of both insurance ombudsman schemes made an in-principle decision to enter into a shared services agreement and have a single ombudsman for the adjudication of both short-term and long-term insurance complaints,” the OSTI board said.
Ms Deanne Wood, the outgoing ST Ombud, made a very positive contribution to the OSTI, particularly in terms of consumer education. We also welcome the single point of entry for complaints. Now, if only the office of the FAIS Ombud would join this arrangement, we would see a huge improvement in its turnaround times for resolving complaints, which is an important element in its mandate.
Click here to read the BusinessLive article.