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ombudsman news

issue 64

September/October 2007

subject to scrutiny

I have often remarked on how well the ombudsman model has stood the test of time - largely unchanged since 1981 when the Insurance Ombudsman was first established as a voluntary scheme.

The key feature of that scheme - that it was a free service funded by the industry and that consumers should give the firm a chance to resolve a complaint before approaching the ombudsman - is now embodied in statutory form.

But it's time to look at some other aspects of the model to see whether the Financial Ombudsman Service will be fit for purpose in the next decade. So we have asked Lord Hunt of Wirral to conduct a review.

He will be focusing on the openness and accessibility of the service to its wide range of customers and stakeholders and will be consulting widely. He could hardly be better placed or qualified for the role. Many in the insurance industry will know of Lord Hunt's career as a leading insurance lawyer. He knows both the legal system and the insurance world, and was closely involved in the setting up of the Insurance Ombudsman. IFAs will know him as the founding chairman of the Association of Independent Financial Advisers, while others may recognise him as the current President of the CII (Chartered Insurance Institute).

He has had a distinguished political career as a senior MP and as a cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher. So while he knows a thing or two about the financial services world, he can also bring the independent mind of a parliamentarian to this exercise.

Walter Merricks
chief ombudsman

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ombudsman news issue 64 [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.