In the Life Assurance ratings, Fairer Finance use statistics published by providers, revealing what percentage of claims they have paid out every year. The main reason Life Assurance claims are turned down is that a customer hasn't given correct information when they made their application. Very few claims are rejected - and all Life Assurance providers pay between 85% and 100% of claims.
They take providers' claims scores over the past three years. If a provider gets a score of 100%, it means they have paid every single claim over the past three years.
Fairer Finance believe that the responsibility lies with the provider to ensure that Life Assurance applications are valid - and all providers should be aiming to be in a position where they pay 100% of claims.
Fairer Finance don't believe any providers should be avoided because of their record on claims - but the ratings reward companies who have close to a percect record on claims.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) publishes complaints data on financial services companies every six months. Complaints are only referred to the FOS once they have been rejected initially by the company, and the customer decides to appeal. In its six-monthly data release, the FOS publishes details of the percentage of complaints that are upheld in the customer’s favour, for every company that has more than 30 FOS complaints during the period.
Broadly speaking, companies with low uphold rates are doing a good job – as the Ombudsman is backing their decision to reject the complaint in the first place. Companies with high uphold rates are doing less well – rejecting complaints that should have been upheld.
To create the complaints score, Fairer Finance analyse the Ombudsman data over the past three years, weighting the data so that more recent data is given more prominence. They then use a statistical algorithm to create a score out of 100 for each company.
Any company that does not feature in the Ombudsman tables, because they have fewer than 30 complaints, is simply given an average score. But companies are offered the chance to provide the real data to them, independently verified by the Ombudsman.
The complaints score shows how each company does relative to others in its sector. So a score of 100 doesn’t mean that a company gets it right every time. But it means that relative to others in its sector, it is significantly better.
The Transparency scores are compiled by Fairer Finance’s research team. For each company, they go through the online buying process and check whether or not all the relevant information is provided to customers as they proceed towards purchase.
Fairer Finance pay particular attention to whether fees and charges are clearly disclosed. They also download and read each of the company’s policy documents or terms and conditions – scoring it based on length, layout and whether or not it’s written in a language you can understand.
Once again, they use our statistical algorithm to create a score out of 100, which tells you how good each company is relative to its competitors. So a score of 100 doesn’t mean a company is perfect, but it does mean that it’s significantly better than others in the sector.
To calculate the final Fairer Finance score, they take an average of each company's claims, complaints and transparency score. They then use their statistical algorithm to create a final score that shows how companies fare overall, relative to others in their sector.
Once again, a score of 100 doesn't mean that a company is perfect, but it means that it is significantly better than other companies in its sector. Likewise, a company with a score of 0 is well below average.
The gold, silver and bronze ribbons are awarded to companies that are significantly above the sector average. The only way to be awarded a gold, silver or bronze ribbon is to be significantly better than other companies in the sector.