There has been a decline in the number of disputes handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) relating to financial services providers, the industry umpire's annual review reveals.
In the last 12 months, FOS received 31,680 disputes — a decrease of two per cent on 2013 — and accepted 23,454, three per cent fewer than in 2013, according to the review.
General insurance disputes accounted for the biggest proportional decrease in disputes accepted by the FOS, down 12 per cent, chief ombudsman, Shane Tregillis said.
"This can be attributed to a much higher prevalence of insurance covering flood, greater consumer awareness about flood cover and improved industry practice," he said.
Tregillis added that the number of financial difficulty disputes between financial service providers and clients fell by nine per cent over the last 12 months to 4705.
"This is most likely due to the efforts financial services providers have made in managing hardship requests and complaints from customers in financial difficulty, as well as the presence of consistently low interest rates which have reduced repayment pressure for many borrowers," he said.
Credit disputes accounted for the largest proportion of the disputes accepted by the FOS, 12,605, up two per cent, while the number of investment disputes fell by three per cent to 1174.