Austen Morris Associates Europe GmbH – Policy on Complaints Handling
With this Policy on Complaints Handling, Austen Morris Associates Europe GmbH (“AMAE”) implements the requirements for handling complaints pursuant to Sec. 17 of the Insurance Mediation Ordinance (“VersVermV”). The guidelines and procedures to be followed in accordance with the Policy on Complaints Handling apply to the provision of insurance advisory and insurance brokerage services within the meaning of Sec. 34d para. 1 of the German Trade Regulation Act (“GewO”) and financial investment advisory and financial investment brokerage services within the meaning of Sec. 34f para. 1 GewO.
With this policy, AMAE ensures that complaints are handled in a timely, legally correct, fair, efficient and with equal application of predefined criteria are handled. By regularly analysing incoming complaints, AMAE ensures that recurring or systematic problems as well as potential legal and operational risks are identified and remedied. AMAE also takes into account whether the causes of the complaints could also affect other processes or products, including those about which no direct complaints have been received, and how these complaints are to be eliminated.
These guidelines are made available in writing to all AMAE employees and their compliance is monitored by AMAE on an ongoing basis.
AMAE provides the following free-of-charge procedure for the immediate processing of complaints by clients:
As soon as a complaint is received from a customer or potential customer, it must be documented. The employee addressed in the complaint shall record the name of the client or potential client, the service (potentially) provided to him/her, the date of the complaint, form of the complaint (verbal, telephone, e-mail, letter), nature and cause of the complaint and the action taken to remedy it. The customer shall receive confirmation of the receipt of the complaint and the initiation of the complaint procedure. The confirmation shall also contain the necessary information on the procedure and the handling of the complaint.
The complaint should be accompanied by a brief statement of the employee’s position.
The statement of the customer or potential customer as well as the documentation of the employee shall be immediately forwarded to the member of the management in charge of complaint management, Mr. Alan Copley submit.
This member of the Executive Board decides on the further procedure.
A written response shall be given to each complaint of a customer or business partner without delay, at the latest, however, after the expiry of a period of two calendar weeks since receipt of the complaint. If a response is not possible within the period specified in the first sentence, AMAE shall inform the customer of the reasons for the delay and of when the examination is expected to be completed. The response shall be in comprehensible language.
AMAE shall communicate its position on the complaint to the customers or potential customers and inform the customers or potential customers of their options, including the possibility of referring the complaint to an alternative dispute resolution body (for instance via ombudsman’s office at the VuV or as provided for in Art. 4 (h) of Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the alternative settlement of consumer disputes) or the possibility for the customer to bring a civil claim. In the response, AMAE shall also explicitly inform the customer that the complaint will be forwarded to the competent body if the complaint concerns a subject for which AMAE is not competent. The response shall be included in the respective customer file.
The complaint and the response of AMAE are documented in an internal complaint register.
In the internal complaints register the following information on complaints is collected, stored and continuously investigated and evaluated:
- Date of receipt and method of receipt (e-mail, post, etc.) of the complaint,
- Complainant, reason for complaint,
- Date and dispatch of the confirmation of receipt,
- Date of forwarding to competent body (if done),
- Date of the interim notice issued, if any,
- Date and content of the reply to the complainant (a reply is required in any case, even if the complaint cannot be complied with or cannot be complied with in full).
The Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) responsible for the supervision of AMAE has access to the internal complaints register at any time.
If the complaint is of fundamental importance or concerns the business policy of AMAE, it shall be brought to the attention of all managers of AMAE.
Details of the complaints procedure shall be confirmed by the managing directors of AMAE and published on AMAE’s website. This shall include the necessary contents of a complaint, such as what information the complainant should provide and what contact details the complainant should include in the complaint, as well as the contact details of the department/person responsible for the complaints management function. The information is provided to clients or potential clients upon request or with the acknowledgement of the complaint.
It should also be briefly described how AMAE deals with the complaint and what approximate processing time should be expected. It should also be mentioned that the IHK is the competent authority and what alternative dispute resolution options exist (if any, e.g. ombudsman’s office at the VuV).
Complaint management function is performed by: Mr. Alan Copley.
The task of the complaints management function is, in particular, to investigate complaints and to identify and avoid possible conflicts of interest.
C. Complaint Report
AMAE shall prepare a complaint report for the previous calendar year by 1 March.
The complaint report contains the following information:
- he number of complaints, in total and broken down into the individual services; the allocation of a complaint to a category is based on the focus of the complaint, i.e. complaints are to be counted once and not several times;
- in each case, a summary of the processing status as of 31 December of the calendar year (broken down by number of complaints received in the calendar year, number of complaints settled in the calendar year, number of complaints open as of the reporting date, number of complaints already open as of 31 December of the previous calendar year);
- in each case, information on how many complaints were at least partially successfully settled for the complainants in the calendar year, number of goodwill payments made in the calendar year, as well as court proceedings pending in the calendar year and conciliation proceedings resulting from complaints;
- Overview of the grounds for complaint, stating the respective numbers of cases, broken down by the following grounds for complaint:
- (1) financial investment advisory
- (2) financial investment brokerage,
- (3) insurance advisory,
- (4) insurance brokerage,
- (5) “Other”;
- The allocation of a complaint to a grievance is done according to the focus of the complaint, i.e. complaints are to be counted once and not several times;
– Information on personnel and organisational consequences related to complaints.
D. Participation in the Ombudsman Procedure and Reference to the ODR Platform
If the customer calls upon the conciliation board pursuant to Sec. 214 para. 1 Sentence 1 No. 2 of the Insurance Contract Act for the out-of-court settlement of a dispute between him and AMAE, AMAE will participate in the conciliation proceedings.
In addition, the AMAE takes into account the following procedure for alternative dispute resolution:
- To strengthen consumer rights, the European Commission has developed an online dispute resolution platform (ODR platform). The purpose of the ODR platform is to enable out-of-court online settlement of disputes between consumers and businesses.
- To enable consumers to exercise their rights, traders established in the EU who enter into online sales contracts or online service contracts and who have undertaken or are obliged to use one or more ADR entities to resolve disputes with consumers must inform consumers about the existence of the ODR platform and the possibility to use it to resolve their disputes.
- The European Commission has set up a European Online Dispute Resolution platform (ODR platform) at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/. A consumer can use the ODR platform to settle a dispute arising from an online contract with a company established in the EU out of court.