Single watchdog for insurance industry from January 2020
Two ombud offices will continue to operate separately, but with a single port of entry for complainants
The insurance industry will have a single ombudsman in the new year.
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.
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 February 1 2020.
Complainants of both life and non-life insurance can also continue to use the existing entry points. If a complaint needs to be transferred to the other office, it will be a seamless process, McLaren said in a statement.
The current ombudsman for short-term insurance (OSTI) Deanne Wood is leaving the office on December 31 2019. To fill the void, Edite Teixeira-Mckinon has been appointed CEO and will head up all operations in the OSTI office.
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.
McLaren has been the ombudsman for long-term insurance since 2013. He started his legal career in 1968 and after a decade as a practising attorney he joined the Pietermaritzburg Bar. He became a senior counsel in 1984 and left the Bar when he was appointed a judge in 1990.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.