Customer Complaint & Dispute Resolution Procedure
The purpose of this document is to provide customers and other interested parties with an understanding of Linkage Assurance Plc complaints & dispute handling procedure. A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction by any party external to Linkage in relation to any of Linkage’s products and services. A dispute is any complaint that remains unresolved or that has not been actioned by Linkage within the specified timeframes.
This procedure aims to ensure that Linkage Assurance Plc can manage and respond to complaints/disputes in a way that meets customer expectations, meet regulatory requirements and form the basis for management to evaluate and measure service standards and trends.
This procedure will address the following aspects of complaint handling:
1. Providing complainants with an open, effective and responsive complaints process
2. Recognizing and addressing the needs and expectations of customers in a timely and expeditious manner.
3. Analyzing and evaluating complaints in order to improve the products and services offered by Linkage Assurance Plc.
4. Creating customer-focused environment that is open to feedback including complaints.
5. Keeping the complainants informed of how and when to resort to market’s dispute resolution mechanism and ultimately the National Insurance Commission’s Complaints Bureau as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism or recourse to litigation.
6. Providing the basis for continual review and analysis of complaints handling and associated processes.
It is Linkage Assurance Plc’s policy to deal in a friendly, timely, expeditious and helpful manner with customer enquiries and concerns. Linkage Assurance Plc will endeavour to resolve all concerns, provided it is reasonable to do so, without prejudice to the customer’s right to lodge a formal complaint or resort to external dispute resolution mechanism.
Where a customer chooses to escalate a concern to a complaint, Linkage Assurance Plc will record the complaint and acknowledge, apologize and act to ensure that complainants promptly receive the standard of service to which they are entitled under the terms and conditions of the policy contract or enabling legislation.
All complaints will be handled fairly, effectively and courteously and in a manner which is equitable, professional, objective and unbiased. Linkage Assurance Plc will take care to monitor all complaints received and complainants will be kept informed of the progress of their complaint until fully resolved.
Linkage Assurance Plc complaint handling procedure will be made available on the Linkage Assurance Plc website or upon request.
Linkage Assurance Plc has designed it complaints handling process to provide flexibility to customers wishing to make a complaint. If a customer wishes to lodge a complaint, they can do so by phone, letter, and dedicated complaints portal on our website/email or in person. Special arrangements will also be made available to complainants with specific needs using a customized complaints form.
Record of all complaints received as well as the measures taken to resolve such complaints will be documented. Each complaint will be handled based on its peculiarity and the complainant will be kept abreast of the status of the complaints.
6.1 Escalation (Internal Resolution Mechanism)
Linkage is committed to resolving any complaints expeditiously. The majority of times that a complaint arises, they are often Claims-related in nature. If the complainant is not happy with a decision that has been made regarding his/her claim then he/she, at first instance, is encouraged to talk or write to the Branch Manager/Customer Care Unit Officer of the nearest business office accessible to the customer. In line with the values and culture of Linkage Assurance, the Branch Manager/Customer Care Unit Officer will be able to assist in resolving the complaint. Notwithstanding, Customer Care Unit Officer are under obligation to log in details of all complaints reported and handled by them to the satisfaction of the customers in order to ensure effective monitoring and analysis. However, if the Complainant is not satisfied with the decision or response received from the Customer Care Unit, Linkage has a standing Dispute Resolution Committee (“the Committee”) which is constituted with senior level managers with the authority to resolve any dispute.
Complaints not satisfactorily resolved by the Customer Care Unit Officers can be escalated to the Committee by lodging the complaints through the designated complaints portal/channel setting out the basis of the complaints and the remedy sought for, alternatively, it can be escalated with a written notice to:
The Dispute Resolution Committee,
Linkage Assurance Plc,
Plot 20 Block 94 Providence Street,
Off Adewunmi Adebimpe Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Within 24 hours of receiving a written notice of a dispute, Linkage Assurance will acknowledge receipt. The Dispute Resolution Committee will meet and provide its decision within 15 business days of the receipt of the complaint. The Committee will advise the Complainant if it is unable to provide its response within this timeframe.
7. Escalation (External Resolution Mechanism)/ ARBITRATION
As part of the response to the complainant, Linkage Assurance Plc will propose action to be taken to correct the issue and/or prevent it from happening in the future. If the complainant accepts the proposed decision or action, it will be carried out and recorded. If the complainant rejects the proposed decision or action, then the complaint will remain open and the complainant will be informed of alternative resolution options such as arbitration, mediation or conciliation are available. These processes are often referred to as External Dispute Resolution (“EDR”). Policies issued by Linkage Assurance have specific dispute resolution clauses within them which can be activated. The Complainant is encouraged to follow the procedure set out in the policy document regarding the External Dispute Resolution Clauses. These EDR channels include at the first instance, the Arbitration Committee of the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) located at No 42, Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and thereafter if unsatisfied with the outcome, the Complaints Bureau of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) located at Plot 1239, Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki II, Abuja.
8. How can a complaint be made?
A complaint can be made by telephone call, email, or letter and forward to the Customer Care Unit of Linkage Assurance Plc for action.
Email: [email protected]
9. Receipt of complaint
Upon receipt of complaint, it will immediately be allocated to the appropriate personnel/department that is adequately trained and sufficiently acquainted with the business and operational processes of the company. The Customer Care Unit Officer will record the complaint and any supporting information into Linkage Assurance Plc complaint handling system. This ensures that complaint progress can be monitored through to completion and provides the ability to analyze complaints allowing for identification of process improvement and/or training needs to better service customers.
Linkage Assurance Plc requires the following information in order to record a complaint;
Provide full details of the complaint, compliment or suggestion including:
1. Full name & contact details
2. Policy or Document number (if applicable)
3. Details and description of the complaint
4. Linkage Assurance Representatives name (if applicable)
5. Provide all supporting documentation
6. Clearly identify the resolution/action you are seeking (if any)
7. Immediate action taken (if any)
10. Response standards
All complaints received will be acknowledged immediately or as soon as practicable after receipt. Where a complaint is received via telephone or in person, it should be considered as having been acknowledged immediately.
Linkage Assurance Plc will endeavour to provide meaningful response within 20 business days from receipt. For complaints that are of a complex nature and required extensive investigation, or where a complaint cannot be resolved within 20 business days, Linkage Assurance Plc will keep the complainant informed of progress and agree on a mutually acceptable extension of time.
Responses will be provided in writing, either via email or post, unless the complainant has indicated that a telephone response is sufficient.
11. Investigation / Closure
All complaints will be initially assessed in terms of severity, safety, complexity and impact. Linkage Assurance Plc will make every reasonable effort to investigate all the relevant circumstances and information surrounding a complaint. If the complaint is of a particularly serious nature, Linkage Assurance Plc will take immediate action to resolve it. Financial or fraudulent issues will be referred to Internal Audit as deemed fit by the Dispute Resolution Committee.
12. Implementation of Recommendations
Recommendations of the Committee will be monitored by Compliance department for implementation.
13. Review of the Complaints Management Procedure
All complaints will be reviewed with the Management Team at Management meetings and as a minimum this procedure will be reviewed annually to ensure all aspects remain relevant and in force.