The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said it was disappointed that the FCA’s amendment to the implementation date for changes to complaints handling and reporting processes, announced on 4 December, has come too late to avoid insurers incurring additional costs.
James Bridge, assistant director, head of conduct regulation at the ABI, said: “While we are pleased that the FCA has now recognised our feedback and allowed more time for implementation, we are disappointed that it comes far too late to avoid additional costs for firms, who until today were preparing to be ready for these changes from 1 January 2016.
“During 2015 the ABI has repeatedly highlighted to the FCA that implementation timescales for the new complaints handling regime were unrealistic and would lead to unnecessary costs. We hope that the FCA will be more conscious of implementation timeframe challenges in future, as it is regrettable that this change of approach has been confirmed three weeks before the original deadline.”
The ABI supports the new complaints rules, which include:
- Extending informal complaints handling process from one to three days
- Issuing a new communication to informal complaint customers advising them of FOS rights
- Requiring firms to report informal complaint volumes, as well as formal complaint volumes, to the FCA
- A new complaints return for reporting to the FCA
The ABI says it had asked the FCA to delay implementing the new reporting rules till at least 30 June 2016 to enable firms sufficient time to make the necessary system changes and train staff. The FCA clarified in September that firms would need to be ready for the new complaints format from 1 January 2016. Today’s Handbook Notice confirms alignment with the ABI’s original request that the new reporting rules will not be implemented until 30 June 2016.