Complaint Examination Policy
When the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages (ChAD) inspects brokerage and claims adjustment firms, one of the main shortcomings observed is related to the complaint examination and dispute resolution policy. And yet, every firm must provide equitable resolution of complaints filed with the firm and to that end, it must “establish a policy” for this purpose. To help firms fulfill their obligations, the ChAD has adapted the Complaint Examination and Dispute Resolution Policy of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the Authority) to create a dynamic, customized model.
Why adopt a complaint examination policy?
The purpose of a complaint examination policy is to set up a free and equitable procedure for dealing with complaints.
This policy is also intended to provide oversight for the receipt of complaints, delivery of the acknowledgment of receipt, creation of the complaint file, transfer of this file to the Authority and compilation of complaints for the purpose of preparing and filing reports twice a year to the Authority using the Complaint Reporting System (CRS).
The policy must include at least the following information:
- the policy’s purpose;
- the name of the person in charge of examining complaints;
- the definition of a complaint;
- an explanation of the complaint examination process.
The Person Responsible for Complaints
The firm must designate a person responsible for complaints who will be responsible for applying the policy and keeping it up to date. This person will act as a respondent with the complainant and the Authority, and is also responsible for ensuring that the policy is communicated both within and outside the firm, in particular by making it accessible to consumers, for example by posting it on the firm’s website.
What is a complaint?
Whether it is a reproach made against the company, the identification of harm that a client sustained or a request for remedial action, the firm must keep in writing any complaint that persists after being considered and examined at the operational level charged with making a decision.
Complaint Examination Obligations
Firms have five obligations with regards to complaint examination:
- Adopt a complaint examination policy and communicate it both inside and outside the firm
- Ensure that every complaint is fairly examined.
- Send an acknowledgment of receipt to the complainant, accompanied by a notice informing him of the possibility of transferring the file to the Authority within a set deadline.
The acknowledgment of receipt must contain the following information:
- A description of the complaint, specifying the real or potential harm, the reproach against the registrant and the requested remedial action.
- The name and contact information of the person in charge of examining complaints.
- The complaint examination policy.
- A notice stating that if not satisfied with the outcome or with the examination of the complaint, the complainant can request that the complaint file be transferred to the Authority. This notice must also mention that the Authority may offer dispute resolution services, if deemed appropriate.
- A reminder to the complainant that filing a complaint with the Authority does not interrupt the prescriptive period for civil remedies against the registrant.
- If the case of an incomplete complaint, a notice requesting more information to which the complainant must respond within a set deadline, failing which the complaint will be deemed to have been abandoned. The Authority has created a document entitled Example: Acknowledgment of receipt including notice.
4. Transfer the complaint file to the Authority, at the request of the complainant. The Form to request the transfer of a file to the Authority, for use by the complainant, is available on the Authority’s website.
5. Keep a register of all complaints received to facilitate the transfer of the complaint report to the Authority, as prescribed.