By Arab News
By Dimah Talal Alsharif*
I recently wrote about the role of the banking dispute committees and the mechanism for submitting complaints to them for resolution. The insurance sector also plays a significant role in our daily lives, and it too has committees that deal with violations and resolving disputes.
Saudi law governing cooperative insurance companies established three primary committees — one each for the central, eastern and western regions of the Kingdom — to serve this purpose. The law specifies that each committee has three specialized members, who serve for a period of three years, which may be renewed. It also defines the committees’ terms of reference.
The committees are authorized to consider and rule on all disputes arising from insurance contracts, and disputes between insurance companies, reinsurance companies and free insurance practitioners. They also deal with any violations of the supervisory instructions of insurance and reinsurance companies and free insurance practitioners, and violations resulting from the application of the cooperative insurance companies law.
Complaints may be registered by one individual or legal entity against one insurance company, by several individuals or legal entities against several insurance companies, or even by one individual against several companies.
If the committee considers that a crime may have been committed, it must refer the complaint to the public prosecution; if prosecutors decide there has been no crime, they must return the case to the committee to consider the original complaint and take the necessary action.
Anyone who has an insurance-related complaint should first access the electronic portal of the relevant committee, depending on geographic location. A registration team will verify that all the required documents and evidence has been submitted. Thereafter, a financial and technical analysis team will consider whether or not to admit the complaint, and must issue a ruling within 10 working days.
The complaint will be studied, and then referred to the settlement department. If the settlement does not succeed, the complaint will be referred to the committee’s secretariat to fix an appointment before the competent committee.
The decision of the primary committee may be challenged by submitting an appeal request through the electronic portal, and the same steps will be taken as the first time. After that, it will be referred to the director of the appeal committee and the secretary-general to proceed with a review of the complaint.
There can be little doubt that the work of these committees has contributed to facilitating the process of recording complaints, and helped the insurance sector to keep pace with the rapid development of the economy in the Kingdom.
*Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal counsel and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif