Disputes are examined in written form by FINE. After FINE has received a complaint addressed to it, a written reply is asked from the counterparty (such as the insurance company, policyholder, bank, investment service company or mutual fund company).
If the party requesting a recommendation for a solution sends such additional clarifications to FINE as might have an impact on the case, they will also be sent to the counterparty for their information. If the customer withdraws the complaint, the case will expire.
FINE will not be able to hear the interested persons or witnesses under oath. Should a reliable solution of the dispute call for an oral hearing of the interested parties or witnesses, FINE can decide not to issue its solution in the case.
The average examination time of disputes at the FINE Bureau is 6 months from the date in which the case was initiated at FINE. At the Insurance Complaints Board, the time from the initiation to the recommended solution is 9 months on average while the corresponding time at the Banking Complaints Board is 5 months and the Securities Complaints Board 9 months.
At its own request and expenses, FINE can ask for an expert opinion from a party external to FINE. The requested opinions may focus on medical, veterinary, construction technical or car technology issues calling for special expertise.
The medical experts issue their opinions on the basis of written documents, in other words, the statements by the attending doctors and examination data related to the customer. Medical experts do not, for example, perform additional examinations of the customer.
Cost for providing evidence
Moreover, FINE does not pay for additional information acquired by the customer or the counterparty, nor take initiative to acquire or pay for further clarifications, for example, from the attending physicians or institutes of care. However, during the examination of the case, it may become clear that there are further details to the case, not yet made available to FINE and indispensable for the issuance of the recommended solution. In this case, FINE can ask the customer whether he or she is willing to acquire such additional details at their own expense.
Customer data and publicity of the decisions
The recommendations issued by the FINE Boards are public information. However, the names of the parties involved are not made public. The easiest way to study the recommendations by the Boards is to search the database accessible through this site.
For the handling of personal customer data, please see the description of the personal data file, the Personal Data Act (523/99), Section 10.
How to lodge appeals against the FINE's resolution recommendation?
The decisions by FINE are recommendations by nature and they are not appealable.
However, a decision by an insurance company can be brought to a District Court in accordance with the instructions for appeal issued with the decision. Banking and securities issues can also be brought before a court of law.
For detailed information on the operation of the FINE Bureau and Complaints Boards, please click here for the FINE regulations.