CBA has told the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that it should have been more “frank and open” in a dispute with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Following a dispute that arose with the Ombudsman surrounding a claimant who had made a complaint after having suffered a heart attack, Helen Troup, managing director of CommInsure, acknowledged that a decision by CBA to redact a medical opinion that was provided to FOS was a decision that fell below community standards and expectations.
Senior Counsel assisting the Commission, Rowena Orr QC, asked Troup: “You accept that CBA misled FOS by implying that the medical opinion had not already been obtained and failed to comply with clause 7.2 of FOS’s terms of reference by not providing information that was requested by FOS?”
“That’s right,” Troup replied, while also acknowledging that CBA’s conduct contributed to a delay in the resolution of this particular case.
Troup acknowledged that the way in which CBA handled this dispute affected its relationship with FOS: “The first word that comes to mind is trust … when I put myself in FOS’s shoes we would’ve come across as very adversarial, and that’s not the relationship that we strive to have with FOS.”
CBA subsequently conducted an internal audit into the way this dispute was handled, which concluded that CBA did not intentionally mislead either the insured or FOS but that the redaction of the medical opinion was a “poor decision”.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had later concluded that CommInsure had indeed misled FOS and had encouraged CommInsure “not to do this again” and implement a set of recommendations in order to become more open and transparent.