The Insurance Complaints Committee
The FME accommodates the Insurance Complaints Committee, which deals with disputes concerning liability for compensation between clients/consumer and insurance companies. The FME receives appeals submitted by clients and provides the committee with meeting facilities and clerical assistance.
Who can turn to the committee?
Consumers may lodge their appeals with the committee. A consumer, as defined in the by-laws for the committee, is anyone who is insured and/or believes he/she is entitled to insurance compensation. Insurance companies are responsible for keeping their clients adequately informed as to the option of appealing to the committee. Appeals are made at the consumers' discretion, i.e. they do not need to obtain the approval of the insurance company. However it should be pointed out that before consumers can approach the committee, they must present their claims to the insurance company in question.
How does one seek a ruling?
Appeals can be made by filling in a special form that is, at the moment, only in Icelandic. But it is possible to send in a complaint in English if the following information's are present in a letter:
- Name – Social security number - Address – Email address
- Information about the insurance company and what kind of insurance the complaint refers to.
- What is the complaint about? (In a few words).
- The grounds for the complaint.
- List of documents that accompany the complaint.
- Date and signature.
The appeal fee is ISK 6.000,-. An appeal is not approved unless the fee is paid in full into FME's account: 526 – 26 – 402 and social security number 541298-3209. Please enclose a transcript of the payment with the complaint. The fee is refundable if the committee decides partly or wholly in the appellant's favour.
It is important to enclose with the appeal all necessary documentation concerning the disagreement at hand, including reasons for the complaint, the views of the appellant, etc.
Careful preparation is helpful to the committee in concluding matters promptly and efficiently. Appellants are advised to study the information provided below on the committee and its areas of responsibility.
Who is responsible for the committee?
The Insurance Complaints Committee, founded in 1994, operates in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Industries and Innovation, the Consumers' Association of Iceland and Icelandic Financial Services Association.
What is the committee's area of responsibility
- The Insurance Complaints Committee handles disputes concerning liability for compensation, including liability between consumers and insurance companies licensed to operate in Iceland.
- The committee does not decide on actual amounts for compensations unless it has obtained the approval of both parties, i.e. the consumer and the insurance company in question.
- The committee does not handle disputes that should be dealt with by the authorities, claims that cannot be valued in financial terms, changes to the premiums of insurance companies, disputes before civil courts or courts of arbitration, or cases that are so unclear, or where the claims are too vague to allow for a proper ruling.
- The main role of the Insurance Complaints Committee is to handle disputes between a consumer and a domestic insurance company. It is, however, possible to refer to the committee a complaint against a foreign company that is licensed to operate in Iceland. In order for the committee to make a ruling in such a case, the foreign company has to give its endorsement.
- The Insurance Complaints Committee decides whether a dispute comes under the Committee's area of responsibility and whether its nature and supporting documents allow for a ruling in the matter. If the committee decides this is not so, the case is dismissed.
How does the committee operate?
When an appeal has been lodged with the Insurance Complaints Committee, the insurance company or companies concerned are notified of the appeal and given two weeks to respond and inform the Committee of their stance. The insurance company in question is expected to notify the counter-party of an appellant of the appeal, if such a party exists. The Committee stresses the importance of observing the right to object in every case before a final ruling is made.
The Committee rules on the basis of information that is either submitted or collected in some other way. All Committee rulings are supported with arguments. When a ruling has been made, its details are sent out to the parties concerned within a week.
Decisions on a ruling are reached by a majority vote of committee members. Committee rulings are not binding for the consumer, who may refer the case to a court of law at any time. Committee rulings are binding for the insurance company concerned unless the company gives notification of non-compliance to the consumer and the committee within a period of two weeks of receiving the ruling.
There are certain limits to the re-opening of cases, which further emphasises the importance of carefully preparing each appeal. According to Committee by-laws, the Committee may decide that a case for which a ruling has already been passed be examined again on the basis of new information, assuming the appellant was unable to collect or produce at the time of the original ruling and which may affect its outcome.
Committee rulings do not prevent subsequent handling of a case by a court of law.
Who are the committee members?
The Insurance Complaints Committee is made up of three representatives and three alternates. All committee members shall have a law degree and be nominated for a term of two years. Each of the three founding parties of the committee nominates one Committee member and an alternate. The Committee selects its chairman and vice-chairman