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ombudsman news

issue 34

January 2004

ask ombudsman news - your questions answered

firm's refusal to provide insurance cover - can we complain-

The manager of a citizens advice bureau writes ... One of our clients has been refused cover by his insurer. Can the ombudsman service deal with his complaint about this-

Under our rules, we have the discretion not to consider complaints that we believe involve a firm's "legitimate exercise" of its "commercial judgement".

In practice, this means we do not normally look into complaints about matters such as a firm's decision to refuse cover, increase premiums or apply special conditions unless we think the firm's decision wasn't just a question of legitimate commercial discretion.

This might be the case if, for example, the decision appears to have been the result of maladministration, where the insurer may be breaking the law on race, disability or sex discrimination, or where there is other evidence (like an industry code or agreement) that suggests the insurer should not have acted as it did.

conference plans for 2004

Unfortunately I was unable to get to any of your ombudsman conferences in 2003. Will you be running more of these events in 2004-

The last in our 2003 series of working together conferences took place in Manchester on 10 December. We've had very positive feedback from this, and from all the events we organised last year, and we are now busy planning the programme for 2004.

We will probably be holding the conferences towards the later part of the year - so that in the spring we can focus on smaller-scale events at different venues around the country. These smaller-scale events will be more tailored towards smaller firms - including mortgage and insurance intermediaries who will soon be coming under the ombudsman's jurisdiction for the first time.

Watch this space for more details ...

Walter Merricks, chief ombudsman

ombudsman news issue 34 [PDF format]

ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.