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Alternative dispute resolution has become standard practice for insurers and consumers, according to insurance specialist and Jarvis & Bannister partner Richard Houseago.
The firm's recent seminar, attended by insurance ombudsman Laurie Slade, examined how the number of disputed insurance claims could be reduced.
The 1994 Ombudsman's Report highlighted evidence of misunderstanding between insurers and their policy-holders, with 66 per cent of general insurance cases referred to the insurance ombudsman settled in favour of the insurer. This means that in one third of all cases either the position is arguable or the insurer has got it wrong.
John Warren, claims manager in the corporate partnership division of Sun Alliance, said that it was in both the insurer's and policyholder's interest to find and tackle the root cause of insurance claims complaints.
"With courts an unattractive option for either party, alternative dispute resolution has become part of the mainstream," said Houseago.
"The insurance ombudsman is now recognised by both insurer and consumer as an impartial and independent arbitrator offering a more flexible alternative. The insurer gets a quicker, cheaper solution with more potential of retaining the customer at next renewal."
Slade said that the Insurance Ombudsman should not be subject to judicial review.