Handling of disputes
A dispute can arise between the insurer and the party that considers he has a right to accident damage compensation. These disputes can always be referred to public courts. That course is normally both time-consuming and expensive, and for this reason it is often not a viable option for the consumer. The SFF (Association of Financial Enterprises) and its constituent members, in cooperation with government and consumer organisations, have developed a system that is intended to resolve disputes with insurance companies in manner that is professional yet fast and inexpensive, without the intervention of the courts. In a nutshell the process is as follows:
Accident insurance company claims department
Where agreement is not reached about damage liability or division of liability with the insurance company staff, normally with the claims department, the company itself can be requested to put the case before the The Insurance Companies Claims Committee.
The Insurance Companies Claims Committee
Committee members are lawyers, proposed by member companies in SFF. The committee is housed at SFF. Those parties to a case that disagree with a company's handling of a claim for accident compensation can request that the case be put to the committee. Such an appeal is without cost to the appellant.
The Insurance Complaints Committee
Parties that suffer damage have the option of appealing a dispute regarding a company's decision to the insurance complaints committee within one year from the company's notification that it rejects the claim for damages in part or in the whole. Special attention is drawn to the fact that the party that has a right to damages, will lose that right if he has not started legal proceedings or demanded that the case be referred to the arbitration committee as specified in article 141 of the laws on insurance contracts within one year from the time he received written notification of the rejection.
The are three members of the insurance complaints committee, lawyers proposed by the Ministry of Commerce, The Consumers' Association of Iceland and SSF. A special form has to be completed for an appeal to the insurance complaints committee. The form is available from the insurance companies, The Consumers' Association of Iceland and from the Financial Supervisory Authority. The appeal form is available on the Financial Supervisory Authority web page www.fme.is. The form and supporting documents should be delivered to the Financial Supervisory Authority with the appeal fee which is currently ISK 6.000. The fee is refunded if the appeal is wholly or partly successful.
Attention is particularly drawn to the fact that the appellant's rights to referring the matter to the courts are not affected where the case has been appealed to the Insurance Companies Claims Committee or to the Insurance Complaints Committee.