The Insurance Ombudsman Bureau (IOB) has refunded some of the fees paid to it by Western Provident Association (WPA), because of the low level of complaints received about the company over the past year.
IOB spokesman Graham Cox explained the move, saying: “Obviously it is better for both the industry and the public if an insurer can keep its customers happy without our involvement”.
WPA communications director David Ashdown said: “The refund from the IOB, highlighting the lack of subscriber complaints, reinforces our reputation for being the health insurer most recommended to others by its subscribers”.
During 1997, no complaints against WPA were upheld by the IOB. This finding came against a backdrop of the company paying out a total of 200,000 claims, at a cost of more than £75m.
WPA, which publishes an annual summary of complaints made to the Ombudsman, said that between 1991 and 1997 it paid out 1,276,301 claims valued at more than £490m.
Ashdown said all insurers “should publish complaints figures such as these”.