Health Shield reports low levels of complaints, according to official FSA data

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Health Shield – one of the UK’s leading corporate health cash plan providers – has announced enviable statistics on member complaints.

In 2011, the non-profit making Friendly Society recorded just 136 formal complaints, with only 26 of those conceded.

With 98 per cent of complaints closed within eight weeks, compared to 51 per cent for the general insurance and pure protection industry as a whole, the organisation continued to demonstrate its commitment to Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) – a central part of the FSA’s retail regulatory agenda, which aims to ensure an efficient and effective market and thereby help consumers achieve a fair deal.

Importantly, the statistics also show that just 10 company-sponsored members had their complaint upheld out of over 100,000 members (19 per cent were upheld in total). Across the Friendly Society, 53 complaints came from Corporate membership, with 19 from Direct, seven from Direct Plus, five from Flex and 52 complaints generated from Tailored and Essentials schemes.

Jonathan Burton, Chief Executive at Health Shield, commented: “Health Shield prides itself on its non-profit making Friendly Society roots. We are extremely committed to ensuring that every aspect of the organisation reflects our unwavering vision and values, including delivering excellent customer service”.

“The latest figures demonstrate our dedication to handling all member complaints in an efficient and appropriate manner, as we strive to offer a comprehensive service and product suite to the company-paid market.”

The financial services industry has come under significant pressure in the last 12 months over escalating complaints and mis-selling disputes. FSA figures show that, as a whole, the industry faced more than four million complaints in 2011, with over 2 million relating to the general insurance and pure protection market.

Burton added: “While direct comparisons cannot be made with the rest of the industry, due to insufficient data, Health Shield is extremely pleased with its overall performance in handling complaints, together with the low levels of disputes raised by members in the first place. We will continue to work with intermediary partners and members in a bid to maintain our excellent reputation and service.”

Customer care surveys – carried out by Health Shield – continue to highlight extremely high levels of member satisfaction, with 99 per cent of members stating that they are happy with the Society’s service level standards regarding claims payments.

In 2011, the number of claims paid increased by 6 per cent to 374,356, in line with the significant membership increase. In the last year, the organisation paid out 75 per cent of its net contributions back to members in the form of benefits. This figure is both sustainable for the Society and still significantly higher than many of Health Shield’s competitors.

low levels of complaints