Home' Financial Ombudsman Service Annual Review : 2011-2012 Annual Review Contents 68
Here are some examples of the events that we
organised or attended in 2011–2012:
• Resolving Customer Complaints Workshops. This
two-day internal dispute resolution (IDR) workshop
is one of our most popular training programs for
financial services providers. Run in conjunction with
Nina Harding Mediation Services, it is designed to
enhance the complaint handling skills of customer-
facing staff. We ran the workshop six times in
2011–2012 – in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne,
Sydney (twice) and on the Gold Coast. By educating
our members on the best ways to resolve (and
avoid) customer complaints, we aim to raise the
standard of service to their customers.
• General Insurance Open Forums. We held six
Open Forums around the country to discuss our
Determinations in general insurance disputes.
The aim of the forums is to bring together those
involved in the industry to learn from each other
and share insights. We tailor the agenda of each
forum to the interests of the members attending,
based on their input when they register.
• Professional Indemnity Insurance Seminar.
This seminar explains how we handle investment
disputes involving a professional indemnity insurer.
It is designed to educate insurers and brokers about
the kinds of issues that arise in these disputes and
how we address them. We ran the seminar in
Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in 2011–2012.
• Community and industry meetings on natural
disasters and general insurance (GI). We held
or participated in several information sessions for
people whose homes, farms or businesses had
been damaged by the major floods and storms
in Queensland and Victoria over the past two years.
We answered questions about insurance claims
and explained what kinds of disputes FOS can
handle and how we handle them. Our GI staff also
presented to a number of GI members on how
FOS works. We also consulted extensively with
the GI industry about issues arising from natural
disasters, the general rise in GI disputes, and the
General Insurance Code of Practice.
• External Dispute Resolution (EDR) Forum,
17 May 2012. This annual forum is funded and
hosted by FOS and several other EDR schemes.
It is a key event in the calendar of many financial
counsellors and other community sector workers,
who support and advise some of the most
vulnerable members of the Australian community.
Several FOS staff gave presentations or participated
in panel discussions at the 2012 forum. In conjunction
with the forum we also held a directors' day for
consumer representatives who hold positions
on EDR scheme boards or councils.
Visits to our website continued to rise in 2011–2012.
Our website was visited 577,616 times, up 31% on the
Website usage by year
We are continuously enhancing our website to better
inform our stakeholders about how we operate and
to respond to their needs and interests. In 2011–2012
we conducted user group tests of the website
to identify how the website can be made more
accessible and easy to use. In 2012–2013 we will
start reviewing and implementing the recommended
changes to the site.
The most significant changes we made to our
website in 2011–2012 were to Secure Services. We
have a Secure Services area for our members and
another one for consumer advocates. They are
secure repositories of up-to-date case data, contact
details and other information and tools.
The Secure Services area for our members was
launched in June 2011. By 30 June 2012, more than
5,300 staff from our members had registered for
access. New tools and features were added throughout
2011–2012. The following services are now available:
• Dispute reports and search tool -- Members can
view and download reports on open and closed
disputes for any period between 1 January 2010
and the present. They can also search for a
particular dispute or all the disputes that meet
certain criteria (eg status, product, issue, date
received and date closed).
• Systemic issue reports and search tool -- Members
who have had systemic issues can view and
download reports on these issues and search
• Invoicing -- Members can pay FOS invoices online
by credit card, view the status of all their invoices,
and print invoices (both paid and unpaid).
• Membership certificate -- Members can download
their certificate each year after paying their
• Contact details -- Members can update their
contact details and contact types.
We also developed a Secure Services area for legal
aid workers and other consumer representatives that
provide free support to consumers. In February and
March 2012, we trialled it with staff from Legal Aid
NSW. The trial was successful and Legal Aid NSW
is now using Secure Services on an ongoing basis.
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