5. I am not satisfied with the compensation and the conduct of my agent/insurance company. Shall I settle the dispute in court, or approach other organizations? Do the courts or other organizations impose a limit on the amount of any claim in each case?
Under the Code of Conduct for Insurers (Part IV: Management of Insurance Agents, Paragraph 35), an insurance company is required to have internal procedures for handling complaints against its agents. Therefore, you should file the complaint against your agent with your insurance company first.
If you are not satisfied with the way on how your insurance company handled your complaint against the agent, you should then file your complaint with the Insurance Authority.
As regards the complaint against your insurance company, you should also file the complaint with the company first. The Code of Conduct for Insurers (Part VII: Inquiries, Complaints and Disputes, Paragraph 48) requires insurance companies to have procedures in place to handle and attempt to resolve complaints by policyholders. If you are not satisfied with the way on how your insurance company handled your complaint, you should then file your complaint with the Insurance Authority.
If appropriate, you could, at the same time, file a complaint with the Insurance Complaints Bureau (“ICB”). This body is set up specifically to handle insurance complaints in an expedient and less costly way. Generally speaking, the ICB can handle a complaint against an insurance company if it is of a monetary nature and the amount of money involved does not exceed HK$1,000,000. Beware that you should file the complaint with the ICB within 6 months from the day of notification by the insurance company of its final decision against which you want to complain.
In relation to court proceedings, you may go to the following courts:
- The Small Claims Tribunal : for claims of $75,000 or less (to get more information about how to prepare for the trial, please click here);
- The District Court: for claims that exceed $75,000 but do not exceed $3,000,000;
- The Court of First Instance of the High Court, which has unlimited jurisdiction.
Taking your claim to any of the above courts should always be the last resort. You are recommended to seek legal advice before doing so.