Laurie Slade takes over as ombudsman

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LAURIE SLADE has become the new Insurance Ombudsman, replacing Julian Farrand, who left the job this month to take up the post of Pensions Ombudsman, writes Nic Cicutti.

Mr Slade, who was Dr Farrand's deputy, becomes ombudsman when up to a third of the work once carried out by his office is going to a complaints- handling system run by the Personal Investment Authority, the new City watchdog.

Dr Farrand is known to have been unhappy at the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau being stripped of its responsibilities for complaints about life insurance and pensions. It will now deal almost solely with general insurance cases, such as motor, household and contents.

However, Mr Slade said that one of his main objectives would be to ensure the smooth handover of that work to the PIA ombudsman. He said: 'We have to maintain the momentum in resolving fairly the ever-increasing number of general insurance complaints coming to us.'

In 1993 more than 8,000 complaints were made to the Insurance Ombudsman Bureau, a 400 per cent increase over the past four years. The IOB said it would continue to deal with personal finance cases already referred to it until 1995.