The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has recently confirmed, in a policy statement entitled "Publication of Complaints Data: including Feedback to CP09/21", that insurance companies and other financial institutions must publish information on how they handle complaints.

Publication of this policy statement follows the FSA's previous consultation (Transparency as a Regulatory Tool and Publication of Complaints Data (CP09/21)), in July 2009, on proposals requiring firms to publish their complaints data. To view this consultation paper, please click here.

The FSA has confirmed that firms that receive 500 complaints or more in a six month period will have to publish the following information twice a year:

1. the number of complaints received during the period;

2. the number of complaints closed;

3. the percentage of closed complaints upheld; and

4. the percentage of complaints which had been closed within eight weeks.

The FSA requires this information to be categorised into the following five product areas: banking; home finance; general insurance and pure protection; life and pensions; and investments. The FSA has warned that they expect firms to use the best data available and not to publish data that gives a misleading impression. The FSA intends to use this information to publish, on a bi-annual basis, a consolidated list of complaints data covering all affected firms. The FSA has stated that its overall aim is to drive up standards across the industry and provide greater transparency to consumers.

All affected firms will have to publish their first complaints data by 31 August 2010. The FSA intends to publish the first set of consolidated data in September 2010.

To view the FSA's press release and policy statement, please click here.