Insurer Aviva has been fined almost €500,000 by the Central Bank for breaches of the Consumer Protection Code in relation to the proper handling of customer complaints.
The Bank said that during the period July 1 2007 to January 21 2011 the firm had failed to ensure that its complaint handling procedures fulfilled the minimum requirements of the Code, and did not employ effectively the resources and procedures, systems and control checks that were necessary for compliance with the Code.
Additionally, in the period June 9, 2009 to October 15, 2010 the company did not maintain an up-to-date record of all complaints, and did not have adequate systems and controls in place to ensure compliance with the minimum complaints handling requirements.
Aviva's health insurance business was fined €245,000, and the life and pensions business was also fined €245,000.
The Central Bank said it detected the breaches in January 2011 during a review of the complaints handling procedures in place in insurance firms in the Irish market.
“Proper complaints handling policies and procedures are fundamental to ensuring the speedy, efficient and fair treatment of consumers who complain about products and services," said Director of Enforcement, Peter Oakes.
"Incomplete procedures, inadequate systems and controls and not employing effectively resources in the area of complaints handling can jeopardise the level of protection owed to consumers and accordingly undermines the special trust consumers place in financial service providers."