Whilst ARAG prides itself on providing a service which is second to none, complaints can still arise despite best endeavours. ARAG has therefore always invested in a team dedicated to customer relations with their remit being to quickly and sympathetically resolve any problems that do arise. As an independent team within the newly restructured Claims department, the Customer Relations unit has to apply the latest rules put in place by the FCA.
The most recent changes, which have come into force, mean that all expressions of dissatisfaction from customers are now reportable to the FCA. Until 30 June, anything resolved by the end of the next working day, after the complaint was received, did not have to be reported to the FCA nor did it require a written response to the policyholder. However, from 30 June, all complaints are now reportable to the FCA and also require a written response to be sent to the complainant.
The rule changes do now allow three working days to informally resolve problems with customers informally. ARAG’s Customer Relations team tackles any complaint, whether it is BTE or ATE legal protection, assistance business, or indeed any service offered under the policy and will try, where possible, to resolve the complaint within the first three days. When that is possible, under the new rules, ARAG must issue a Summary Response Letter to the complainant, setting out what has been agreed to resolve the concerns raised. If the complaint cannot be resolved within three working days, then it falls under the formal procedure with referral rights to the Financial Ombudsman Service having to be provided or to Lloyd’s where it involves a Lloyd’s-underwritten policy.
ARAG has a policy of openness and favours the new rules as they give complete transparency to the number of complaints a business receives – something we have long-since measured, in any event. The new rules mean that handling complaints is now more labour-intensive, and in order to ensure we have sufficient resources to deal with complaints, and as importantly, learn from them, ARAG has recruited an additional Senior Customer Relations Advisor, as well as creating a completely new role; that of Claims Controller who oversees the Customer Relations team.