The OIC plans to encounter the increasing insurance disputes by enrolling the 2nd generation mediators up to 50 numbers to strengthen their consumer protection. Stress the mediators have to be impartial, honest and fair.
Dr. Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, the Secretary-General of the Office of Insurance Commission (the OIC) presided over the opening session of the training program for the registered 2nd generation specialists (from the 3rd party) to be the mediator of insurance disputes, and assigned the policy on insurance disputes mediation on May 15, 2018 at the meeting room of the Institute of Insurance Academy, 2nd floor of the office of the OIC. The new specialists who act as mediators of insurance disputes had passed through the intensive selection from written exams and interviews. The 50 qualified registered mediators were announced. They are supposed to have knowledge, competency and expertise in dispute mediation as well as experience in court’s dispute mediation.
The Secretary-General of the OIC said that the insurance industry continues to play an important role in the Thai economy as an important tool in managing the risks of various industries as can be seen from the government policy in bringing the insurance system to manage risks in various forms, such as crop insurance, etc.
In the meantime that Thailand has approached the 4.0’s age, the insurance industry has been transformed in line with the technology change to the business process and the online sale channel for insurance products. It is expected that there will be increasing insurance disputes in the future. Therefore, the OIC has to fill up numbers of insurance disputes mediators. In the year of 2018, 50 numbers of the insurance mediators were enrolled, higher than of last year of 40 numbers. The training was to enhance insurance knowledge for the mediators to deal with various patterns of insurance disputes.
Since the past year dispute mediation by the experts mostly were the claims of non-life insurance incidents. 80% of the claims were from the benefit loss from lack of car use. The following was from the dispute over the car repairing and injury expenses. The most controversial claim of life insurance was nullifying of the life insurance policy by the insurers, and false statement declaration against the Civil and Commercial Code, section 865. The next was the claims concerning the insured amount due to the difference of terms & conditions between the insurers’ offer and the policy issued, and the last was falsifying the term of the policy which misleading the insured or without explaining the term and condition clearly. The OIC got those claims information to formulate the guidelines to the resolution with the relevant agencies.
The Secretary-General of the OIC suggested to the new mediators that the mediators’ duties on some complaints are specifically rather complex with many details and related to legal issues. The mediators have to be well self-prepared by looking through all dispute issues, including relevant facts and legal issues. To have efficiency, he has to be ready on the mediation date. In addition, the mediators need to improve their knowledge to catch up with the developing and changing rules in the insurance industry. It is important that a mediator is to be neutral, honest and fair to the dispute parties. There should not be impartial and no dissatisfactory sensing from the dispute parties. The mediators should not manipulate or persuade the parties to accelerate the dispute settlement. He has to give room to allow both parties’ negotiation and settlement. In other word, the disputes should be settled with the satisfaction of both parties and then the process of mediation will be justified and efficient. Therefore, the mediators' performance is very important which, consequently, affects the confidence and trust in the OIC’s mediation process.
"Insurance disputes mediation is based on clear rules for transparency and the mediators are the 3rd party specialists. The mediation would be an alternative solution for the insured, the beneficiary and the claimant of the insurance contract to settle the dispute faster and with expense-free. This also increases the efficiency in the insured’s right protection under the insurance policy and maximizes the effectiveness of the insurance claim management. Formerly the dispute settlement of the OIC was in two ways, which were dispute mediation by the officials and by the arbitrators. Existing of the insurance mediators would help increasing negotiation power to the insured and the efficiency in consumer’s fair protection in the insurance industry”.