Consumers lose in confusing policy wording

Helped by complicated policy wordings and conditions, insurance companies are winning out more often in disputes involving consumers a recent report claims. The 1999-2000 annual report of the Insurance Enquiries and Complaints scheme reveals that two thirds of disputes between insurers and customers were ruled in favour of the insurers. Out of a total of 8,774 disputes, 4,375 were resolved in favour of the insurer with only 1,891 in favour of the consumer. Chairman of the Insurance Enquiries and Complaints scheme Mr Peter Hardham, said that on numerous occasions, the panel responsible for settling disputes, found that whilst the policy benefits were heavily promoted no mention was made of the important exclusions contained in the policy. Mr Hardham also expressed concern over the complex language used by insurers to define their policy terms claiming that it made it difficult for consumers to fully understand the conditions.

‘Insurers win policy disputes two-to-one’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14/11/00, p 27.