Aviva fined €490,000 for breaching regulations on customer complaints


INSURANCE FIRM Aviva has been fined €490,000 by the Central Bank for breaching regulations on the handling of customer complaints.

The Central Bank said Aviva’s written complaints procedure did not fully comply with requirements set out in the Consumer Protection Code 2006; and that the insurer did not keep an up to date record of all complaints lodged.

The offences relate to complaints made by customers to Aviva Health Insurance and Aviva Life and Pensions.

The offences included failure to provide claimants with a regular written update of the investigation into their case at 20 day intervals or to inform them of the right to refer the matter to the relevant Ombudsman.

The Central Bank said Aviva also failed to acknowledge each complaint in writing within five business days of receipt and that it did not provide customers with the name of a point of contact for their complaint.

The breaches occurred between July 1st, 2007 and January 21st last year. They were detected during a review of complaints handling procedures in the insurance industry in which a sample of 76 Aviva complaint files were examined.

“The foregoing breaches demonstrate a failure by the firm to have adequate systems and control checks in place to ensure compliance with the complaints handling requirements of the code,” the Central Bank said.

“The penalties imposed in this case reflect the importance the Central Bank places on consumer protection and the obligation of regulated entities to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the code and have adequate systems and controls in place to ensure compliance with those requirements.”

Aviva was said to have taken immediate measures to rectify the issues including the implementation of new systems and training.