The Financial Ombudsman Service received more than 187,000 appeals in 2020

The Financial Ombudsman Service received 187,386 appeals from consumers of financial services to resolve disputes with financial institutions in 2020, Chief Financial Ombudsman Yury Voronin said.

In 2020 the Financial Ombudsman considered disputes of consumers with insurance institutions on all types of insurance (except obligatory medical insurance) and with microfinance institutions (MFI).

Insurance disputes accounted for the bulk of the complaints, amounting to 185,501 (99%). MTPL accounted for the vast majority of complaints, 155,440 or 83% of the total number. Of these, the largest number, 59,160 complaints, related to disputes where the claimant did not agree with the amount of the insurance claim.

The largest number of complaints under other types of insurance relates to life insurance and accident and health insurance (18,633 or 9.9%), of which the largest number (12,228 complaints) relates to disputes related to the refund of insurance premiums upon cancellation of the insurance contract. The third largest number of complaints is disputes related to hull insurance contracts with 6,373 complaints, or 3.4%.

The Financial Ombudsman Service received 834 complaints on microfinance issues in 2020. In the structure of complaints the most part is accounted for other types of disputes which are mainly not in the FOS competence (344 complaints, or 41.3%), as well as disputes related to non-payment of fees for additional services (277 complaints, or 33.2%).

The average claim in 2020 for insurance disputes was 208,763 roubles and 20,989 roubles for disputes with microfinance institutions. In the insurance sector, the largest number of complaints was for appeals of up to 100,000 roubles (80,056 complaints) and in the microfinance sector for appeals of up to 100,000 roubles, too (726 complaints).

«The institution of the Financial Ombudsman Service was established to increase the level of protection of the rights of consumers of financial services, so that citizens could quickly and in a simplified manner resolve a dispute with a financial institution. And 2020 was a kind of test, which the FOS passed, and showed that even in conditions of restrictive measures and remote work, when many commercial institutions and agencies had to suspend their activities, it was possible to ensure work on restoration of violated property rights of consumers of financial services at a high standard. Therefore, it is advisable that this kind of format, where consumers can resolve their disputes remotely, should be encouraged in other sectors as well,» Yury Voronin said.

In 2020, 32,244 complaints were not accepted for consideration because the claim procedure was not observed, i.e. the consumer had failed to apply with a claim to the financial institution in advance. «Failure to comply with the appeals procedure is the most common reason for our refusal to accept a complaint. Such a situation is due to a lack of awareness among consumers about the procedure for filing complaints,» the Chief Financial Ombudsman noted. However, this index has gradually started to show a positive trend, Yury Voronin stresses. For example, at the end of 2019, the share of refusals for this reason was 27.5% of the total number of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, while at the end of 2020, the number dropped to 17.2%. The obligation to inform consumers is imposed on financial institutions by the Law on the Financial Ombudsman Service, Yury Voronin reminds.

A total of 98,800 effective decisions were made by the FOS in 2020, of which 42,733 (43.3%) were made to satisfy, partially or in full, the consumers’ complaints, and 56,067 (56.7%) decisions were made to refuse to satisfy complaints.