Office of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance appoints new independent Chairman

18 October 2012 The Office of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance or ?OSTI?

In order to further ensure the independence of the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance, the Board has been increased to include two new independent Directors.

Former High Court Judge, Advocate John Myburgh S.C. has been appointed as Chairman of the Board and the other appointment is that of Mr Richard Steyn, a former attorney and editor for the “Natal Witness” and of “The Star”. These two appointments bring the composition of the Board to eleven members, the remaining members comprising of four Insurance Industry Representatives, four Consumer Representatives and a representative from the Financial Services Board, the industry’s regulatory body. Well known consumer journalist Mrs Wendy Knowler has been re-elected as the vice-Chairman of the Board. Adv. Myburgh is currently a member of the Johannesburg Bar specialising in Commercial arbitrations and mediations and is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ombudsman for Banking Services.

Improved Productivity of the Ombudsman Office

During the period January to September the rand value of complaints resolved by the office in favour of consumers was slightly more than R88 million, which is about R1 million more than the corresponding period in 2011. The office has also seen a marked improvement in productivity during the first nine months of 2012. The average turnaround time to resolve complaints has been reduced to 193 days from 223 in 2011. Of great concern to the office was the number of complaints unresolved after 6 months. At the end of 2011 the number was 1309 but this has now been reduced to 522. The number of complaints received during the first 9 months of 2012 was 7210 which is a very slight decrease when compared to the same period last year. The Ombudsman, Mr Dennis Jooste, stated that he expects to see a further reduction in the number of complaints unresolved after six months and in the turnaround times. These developments are welcome news to insurers and consumers alike.

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