Toll Free: 1.877.225.0446

Who is GIO?

Is there anything more frustrating than a complaint that goes unheard? Or when there doesn’t appear to be a logical process to resolve problems?

For Canadian consumers of home, automobile and business insurance, there is an alternative. The General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) is an independent dispute resolution service that is responsive, thorough and focused on the successful resolution of consumer complaints.

Our Vision

The General Insurance OmbudService will be recognized as the destination of choice for complaint resolution for the General Insurance Industry, its Customers, and Governments, by being a Centre of Excellence.

Our Mission

The General Insurance OmbudService mission is to provide consumers of car, home and business insurance in Canada with a cost-free, independent and impartial process to resolve their complaints.

To achieve our mission, we are committed to:

  • Making insurance consumers aware of the service we provide;
  • Applying best practices and standards in addressing complaints;
  • Providing access for consumers by toll-free telephone, mail, e-mail, internet and facsimile;
  • Maintaining a knowledgeable and courteous consumer service staff.
  • Ensuring that all cases are treated in a confidential, balanced and fair manner.

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Our Role

The General Insurance OmbudService is an independent organization, created in 2002, with the sole purpose of helping Canadian consumers resolve disputes or concerns with their home, auto or business insurers.

Our employees are impartial professionals with experience in the insurance industry and related sectors, but with no direct ties to specific insurance companies or their boards of directors.  Our goal is to use our extensive experience and industry-related insight to work towards a fair solution between individuals and their insurance providers.

GIO’s services are available free of charge, in both English and French to any home, auto or business insurance policyholder of a member company, anywhere in Canada. The majority of issues we deal with concern claims, interpretation of policy coverage and policy processing and handling.

GIO is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, committed to the ideals of fairness and integrity. Five of the Directors are individuals from outside the insurance industry who bring experience from a wide range of professions.  The regionally diverse Board also has two industry appointed directors who provide an industry perspective.

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Our Commitment to Consumers

The General Insurance OmbudService treats all consumers from every province and territory with fairness, impartiality and integrity. We cultivate an environment characterized by the highest ethical standards and consistently adhere to the following principles:

Accessibility – Providing convenient ease of contact for consumers to express and pursue their concerns. Consumers wishing to access our services may contact GIO in a variety of ways, including our National toll-free telephone number 1-877-225-0446, mail, electronic mail, facsimile, and through this web site. We service consumers across all provinces and territories and our Consumer Service Officers will assist them in either English or French.

Timeliness – Responding promptly to consumer inquiries and complaints. In the case of fax or e-mail messages, we strive to get back to the complainant within one business day. In most cases, our telephones are answered directly. When that is not possible, we will respond to messages within one business day. For all situations, GIO will strive to keep the consumer informed at all times of the status of their concern.

Courtesy – Always treating consumers with respect, civility and politeness.

Clarity – Using simple, easy-to-understand language in all our communications, delivered in the consumer’s choice of English or French.

Accuracy – Always providing consumers with information that is accurate. If we don’t fully understand any aspect of the issue, we will ask the appropriate party for clarification.

Fairness & Impartiality – Approaching every interaction with integrity and objectivity, dealing with each case on the basis of due diligence and factual information. To see GIO’s complete Fairness Standard, click here

Consistency – Treating similar cases in a similar fashion. We learn from each experience and use that knowledge to refine and enhance the perspective we can bring to recurring issues.

Knowledge – Demonstrating an understanding of the product and providing accurate information and guidance on the complaint resolution protocol.

Privacy/Confidentiality – Ensuring that personal/proprietary information is kept absolutely private and confidential. Our employees are bound by rigorous confidentiality standards and agreements as defined in our privacy policy.

Independence & Objectivity – Ensuring that GIO is independent and separate from government and industry, with its own Board of Directors, whose members represent a range of professional backgrounds, the majority coming from outside the insurance industry.

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Our Fairness Standard

  1. GIO shall pursue all communications and delivery of its services with consumers, insurance companies and their associated service providers, with what is fair to consumers, and their insurance companies in the circumstances.
  2. GIO shall employ practices and processes in respect of complaint handling (including recommendations) that are demonstrably fair to both the consumer and the Member Company insurer.
  3. GIO shall apply a broad and reasonable approach to complaint handling, with a view to fair business dealings and the reasonable expectations of consumers, as well as the laws of Canada and its Provinces.
  4. GIO shall employ complaint handling procedures that are impartial and which provide a fair and balanced opportunity for both the consumer and the Member Company insurer to make presentations, present documentation and information to GIO.
  5. GIO shall employ complaint handling procedures that aim to treat similar cases in a similar fashion in both process and outcome. Notwithstanding this, the fairness principle is paramount and GIO shall not be bound by any previous non-binding recommendation.
  6. GIO shall employ complaint handling procedures that ensure that both the consumer and the Member Company insurer will have equal access to GIO staff in connection with the handling of a complaint.

Adopted by the GIO Board of Directors, February 23, 2012

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