The OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance (OLHI) has launched a new suite of online tools that aim to make it easier for policyholders to file complaints about insurance companies and get information about their policies.

Specifically, OLHI recently launched a revamped website with a new electronic complaint-submission process, as well as various other digital tools for both policyholders and their advisors.

The new complaint-submission process presents an online alternative to the paper-based system that OLHI has relied on in the past.

“We decided to make the submit complaint process available online,” says Andrea Zviedris, communications manager at OLHI. “It just seemed to be a really time-consuming process for folks.”

The new process enables consumers to fill out all of the necessary complaint information electronically, sign an authorization form using e-signature technology, and send supporting documents via email.

OLHI also launched a new tool Canadians can use to find information about insurance policies they bought in the past, in cases in which the insurer has since changed its name or changed ownership. Consumers or advisors can use the tool to search for the name of the company from which they purchased an insurance policy, to retrieve the name and contact information for the company that has since taken responsibility for that policy.

“It’s the only [tool] of its kind in Canada, that we’re aware of,” says Zviedris. She says OLHI launched that tool in response to inquiries from Canadians about old policies.

“It is something that comes up, just because of the nature of insurance and the type of product that it is,” she says. “You buy it, and you might make a claim on it 10 or 20 years later, and things do change over time.”

OLHI also modernized its service for helping Canadians find a lost life insurance policy, with a new online method for requesting a policy search. Whereas previously consumers could request a search via phone or mail, they can now fill out an online form to request assistance from OLHI in searching for the life insurance policy of a loved one who has passed away.

“We wanted to make it more accessible online for people,” says Zviedris. “We’re just trying to be mindful of the fact that a lot of business is done nowadays on the Internet, and people want their time to be valued, and they want to do stuff quickly.”

OLHI has also made some tweaks to the most popular feature on its website — a “find insurance” tool that advisors and consumers can use to search for the types of products offered by most Canadian life and health insurance companies.

“We wanted to make it easier to navigate and easier to use, because it is such an important part of our website,” Zviedris says. “It’s consumer-facing, but anybody in the industry might find this very useful.”

The changes are part of an effort by OLHI to position itself as a resource for consumers as well as advisors. “We want people to be able to see us as a solution,” Zviedris says.

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