OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance endorses current structure for financial OmbudServices

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2011 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) announced that it has passed a unanimous resolution endorsing the present structure for Canadian financial OmbudServices. This announcement was made at OLHI's Annual General Meeting, held in Toronto on November 10th, 2011.

"OLHI's present OmbudServices model resolves consumer complaints in a fair, effective, and timely fashion," said Dr. Janice MacKinnon, Chair, OLHI. "To change this now would be a backward step for consumer dispute resolution in Canada."

The Board resolution was made in response to recent recommendations that another financial  OmbudService, the Ombudsman for Banking & Investments (OBSI), fundamentally alter its current structure by adopting binding decision-making powers. The current regime provides resolution of consumer financial complaints outside the court system through recommendations made by the OmbudServices.

"Binding decisions will lead to additional steps, such as appeals, within the OmbudServices process and result in a longer and more complex dispute resolution process. Consumers will be denied a speedy resolution of the complaints."

The Board resolution stated that "The OLHI Board of Directors strongly opposes the conferral of binding decision-making powers to the OmbudServices because this will serve to undermine their fundamental objective, which is to work in partnership with member companies to provide a quick and effective consumer dispute resolution process that does not amount to a parallel court system."

OLHI has experienced success with the current model and its member companies have accepted all final settlement recommendations made to consumers.

OLHI is a national independent complaint resolution and information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance products and services, including life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. OLHI's services are available free of charge, in both English and French, to any Canadian life or health insurance policyholder whose insurer is an OLHI member. OLHI is a member of the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork (FSON), a Canada wide network of dispute resolution services supported by Canada's financial services regulators and financial services firms.

About the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance
A not-for-profit corporation established in 2002, OLHI is a national independent complaint resolution and information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance products and services, including life, disability, employee health benefits, travel, and insurance investment products such as annuities and segregated funds. OLHI operated under the name 'Canadian Life and Health Insurance OmbudService' until August 17, 2009. OLHI is a member of the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork (FSON), a Canada wide network of dispute resolution services supported by Canada's financial services regulators and financial services firms. For more information visit www.olhi.ca.

Note: Quotes may be attributed to Dr. Janice MacKinnon, Chair.

SOURCE OmbudService for Life

For further information:

Media Contact: Holly Nicholson-Tel: 416-777-9953

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