Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) is planning to introduce an online platform for customers to directly file complaints against underwriters in a bid to address the mounting customer outcry.
IRA says the system will simplify the process of filing complaints such as delayed payments or disowned claims, in what will mark a departure from the current practice that involves paperwork. The IRA chairperson Mwambu Mabonga said the system is part of the planned digitisation of the regulator’s operation in a market of 56 insurers, five reinsurers and over 12,000 insurance agents, among other players.
“We want to develop a digital channel that will allow us to follow all complaints of customers. We have included this in the new strategic plan and we expect to start dealing with customers more directly within a year,” said Mr Mabonga.
IRA data shows insurance customers in 2021 filed 1,686 complaints against underwriters, surpassing the 1,637 registered in 2020. The top complaint was related to delayed payments, followed by declined claims. Mr Mabonga spoke shortly after taking over from Abdirahin Haithar Abdi as the Authority’s new chairperson promising to prioritise service delivery.
“The outcry is enormous. My vision is to ensure that the insurance industry gives value to customers for whatever product they have bought,” he said.
Customers with complaints against any insurer are currently required to fill out an IRA complaint form and supply information such as policy documents. Those who report complaints by telephone, e-mail or through the IRA’s hotline are also required to confirm in writing and by completing the complaint form. IRA commissioner of insurance and chief executive Godfrey Kiptum said the switch to a paperless complaints filing method will help cut the time spend on resolving the cases.
“The system will assist in addressing the complaints and cut on the problem resolution time unlike the current set-up,” said Mr Kiptum.
IRA survey for 2021 showed 68 percent of insurance customers were satisfied with the claims and complaints handling, compared with 55 percent in the previous year. According to the insurance law, an insurer should admit or deny liability, determine the amount, identify the claimant and pay within 90 days.