The Ombudsman of Private Insurance and of Suva foundation was established by the SIA in 1972. The Ombudsman Office assists insured parties with questions related to insurance law and provides solution-oriented mediation for disputes. Its services are free of charge and impartial. In the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of queries and complaints for the Ombudsman Office decreased, but the time spent processing individual cases increased.
Summary of the Annual Report 2022
The number of queries and complaints within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction rose slightly by 0.25% from 2,704 to 2,711 in 2022, the year under review. 269 of the 1030 complaints submitted in writing resulted in interventions with the relevant insurance companies (intervention rate 26.1%). The intervention success rate stood at around 66% which is in line with the long-term average.
After the major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individual insurance sectors in the previous years, the number of insurance cases submitted to the Ombudsman returned to normal. There were only 43 queries and complaints related to the consequences of the pandemic in the year under review compared with 587 cases in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. With the start of the transition to the post-pandemic period, the sector-specific subjects of the queries submitted to the Ombudsman
became broader again.
Our activities continued to focus on personal insurance policies which accounted for around 45.9% of case numbers. Case numbers in the building insurance sector increased quite sharply from 54 to 84 (55.5%), which is directly attributable to bad weather conditions since summer 2021 to some extent. The numbers in daily allowance insurance fell significantly from 443 to 388 (12.5%).
There was a sharp rise in case numbers in the legal protection sector, climbing from 323 to 387 (19.8%). These disputes often concerned the period of insurance cover. Here we had to deal with more complaints concerning the buy-out of legal protection services by the insurer. Based on the contractual conditions, insurers can deal with this on a financial-case basis instead of the main service for which the legal protection cover was taken out. For example, they can do this by paying out the disputed amount directly to the policyholder.
After the entry into force of the revised Insurance Policies Act (IPA) on 1 January 2022, the Ombudsman has had little to deal with overall so far, particularly regarding the right of cancellation in accordance with Art. 35a para. 1 IPA. This may be due to such cases only resulting in complaints to the Ombudsman after a certain period of delay.
The Ombudsman's website can be found here.