Hannes Bester

The Fast Track Process

Hannes Bester

Assistant Ombudsman and Team Leader of the Fast Track Department

The Fast Track Department is well-positioned through its profiling capabilities to identify those matters suited to resolution by mediation.

In October 2018, OSTI embarked on a new project in the office’s case resolution department. This project came about after much internal deliberation as well as research of international ombud schemes that work on a similar model to the office’s model. Having analysed all the pros and cons, it became clear that there was a need to try this new way of resolving complaints, especially since both the insurer members and complainants would benefit from it.

It became clear that there was a need to try this new way of resolving complaints, especially since both the insurer members and complainants would benefit from it.
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The Fast Track Department, colloquially and within the office called “the Trackies”, was established and the fast track process was implemented. The department, consisting of assistant ombudsmen and case administrators, is tasked with effectively and efficiently profiling every personal lines complaint that is registered by the office. A complaint is profiled to determine whether or not it is capable of being resolved early in the dispute resolution process.

The department, consisting of assistant ombudsmen and case administrators, is tasked with effectively and efficiently profiling every personal lines complaint that is registered by the office.
The quality and comprehensiveness of an insurer’s first answer is crucial to the process.

Once a complaint is identified as easily resolvable, a decision is made and the complaint is resolved. The party against whom the decision has been made is, however, given an opportunity to disagree with the decision and to provide additional information in substantiation of its disagreement. If the arguments raised by this party require further investigation, then the case is transferred to the Standard Complaints Handling Department.

An important and essential element that is required, to enable the Trackies to profile a complaint as easily resolvable, is the quality of the insurers’ first responses to the complaints. The quality and comprehensiveness of an insurer’s first answer is crucial to this process.

Without quality and comprehensive responses, together with all the evidence relied on by the insurers, complaints cannot be resolved early in the dispute resolution process.

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Due to the volume of new complaints and the strict time frames set for the Trackies team, there is no time to request further information from the insurer, if it is not included in the first response. The result of the insurer not providing all the information upfront is that a complaint, which could have been resolved at this stage, cannot be resolved and must be referred to the Standard Complaints Handling Department for resolution.

The statistics show that the decision to implement a fast track process was justified. The fast track department contributed to resolving 36% of the total complaints resolved by OSTI in 2019. The average time taken to resolve these disputes was 50 calendar days.

The statistics show that the decision to implement a fast track process was justified. The fast track department contributed to resolving 36% of the total complaints resolved by OSTI in 2019. The average time taken to resolve these disputes was 50 calendar days.

Earlier this year, all of the senior adjudicators acquired accreditation as mediators. Mediation is an alternative way of resolving disputes and, going forward, the fast track team will focus more on implementing a mediation process that is suitable to OSTI’s environment.

Mediation early in the dispute resolution process tends to be more effective than later in the process, when the parties’ stances have become more entrenched and the parties become less likely to agree to a negotiated outcome.

The Fast Track Department is also well-positioned through its profiling capabilities to identify those matters suited to resolution by mediation.

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Mediation early in the dispute resolution process tends to be more effective.

The Fast Track Department is also well-positioned through its profiling capabilities to identify those matters suited to resolution by mediation.

Hannes Bester

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