At times the insurance industry seems to defy gravity, growing profitably even in the direst of economic conditions. Yet, the recent announcements by both Aviva and Direct Line of job losses around 2,000 apiece are a reminder that our workforce is not immune in these recessionary times. As the pricing conditions in the United Kingdom continue to deteriorate, we can expect more companies to pursue cost-cutting strategies to preserve their profit margins.
Despite all this, bucking the trend is the Financial Ombudsmen Service's (FOS) recruitment efforts; increasing its staff numbers by 1,000 in the next 12 months. Funded by the industry, the FOS are the independent experts who sort out individual complaints that consumers and financial businesses are not able to resolve themselves. They are busy people. According to their CEO Natalie Ceeney, speaking to the CII Journal, the FOS are now dealing with 2,000 formal complaints about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) per day, a 140-percent increase over last year. Even other areas of business are producing 20 percent more unresolved complaints per annum.
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