The Financial Ombudsman announces preliminary results of considering the “coronavirus” complaints

Over the past three months of the unfavourable epidemiological situation (30.03.2020 – 30.06.2020) associated with the spread of COVID-19, the FOS received 127 complaints from citizens who associate the coronavirus infection and a controversial situation with contracts with financial institutions, Chief Financial Ombudsman Yuri Voronin informed.

More than half of the “coronavirus” complaints (77, or 60.6%) are related to disputes over Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability insurance (CMTPL), of which the disagreement of consumers with the amount of payments under CMTPL and the violation of the terms for payment of insurance compensation accounted for an equal number of complaints (24, or 18.9%). In the structure of CMTPL complaints, claimants reported the refusal of insurance companies to pay insurance compensation least frequently (19 cases, or 15%). “In their CMTPL insurance complaints, the claimants pointed out, for example, that the measures taken in connection with COVID-19 had prevented them from providing the damaged vehicle for inspection as part of an independent examination. The claimants also reported too lengthy a review of claims for the insurance compensation, since financial institutions pleaded the COVID-19 situation. In these cases, the requirements of consumers were satisfied, and a penalty collected,” Yuri Voronin clarifies the nature of CMTPL insurance complaints.

The second place in terms of the number of complaints is life insurance (13 cases, or 10.3%). In this type of insurance, the claimants mainly claimed a refund in connection with the termination of the insurance contract. The third place is insurance for those travelling abroad (10 cases, or 7.8%). With these products, consumers were most often dissatisfied with the insurance company’s refusal to pay compensation.

Besides, the FOS received “coronavirus” complaints for such popular types of insurance as comprehensive insurance, accident and health insurance, and property insurance. In relation to microfinance organizations, consumers filed nine complaints. “The peak of ‘coronavirus’ applications was in April, when the FOS received 48 relevant cases,” says Yuri Voronin. The FOS has not yet received complaints related to special insurance policies in case of the coronavirus disease.

The largest number of complaints came from consumers living in Moscow (18, or 14.2%), the Nizhny Novgorod Region (15, or 11.8%), the Rostov Region (11, or 8.7%), the Arkhangelsk Region (8, or 6.3%). Six complaints each were received from claimants living in the Krasnodar Territory, the Moscow Region, the Republic of Tatarstan, and the Primorsky Territory.

Based on the results of consideration of complaints related to COVID-19, the FOS made 32 decisions. “In 14 cases, the FOS made decisions in favour of the consumers, the total monetary amount of these decisions exceeding half a million rubles. The maximum amount recovered by the FOS was 354,000 rubles and it is related to the case of the Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability insurance,” adds Yuri Voronin.

Decisions in favour of consumers were made, for example, in disputes over travel insurance. The terms of the contracts of some insurance companies provided for the possibility of returning a part of the insurance premium if the insurance period did not come.

In 18 cases, consumers were denied the stated claims. Relevant decisions were taken, for example, on individual complaints regarding disputes over voluntary types of insurance. The claimants therein reported difficulties with cancelling the insurance contract, since during the pandemic they were unable to take advantage of the “cooling period” (a 14-day period during which a consumer can terminate the insurance contract and have the paid premium returned). “However, during the consideration of such complaints, it turned out that the claimants were able to cancel the insurance contract without any risk to their health. Sending electronic or mail appeals to the insurance company without having to visit their office was an option,” says Yuri Voronin.