According to Articles 89(a) & (b) of Articles of Association of the ICB, the Complaints Panel, in making its ruling, "shall have regard to and act in conformity with the terms of the relevant policy, general principles of good insurance practice, any applicable rule of law or judicial authority; and any codes and guidelines issued from time to time by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) or the ICB. In respect of the terms of the policy contract, these shall prevail unless they would, in the view of the Complaints Panel, produce a result that is unfair and unreasonable to the complainant". In other words, the Complaints Panel, in making a ruling, is given the power by its Members to look beyond the strict interpretation of policy terms.
In the deliberation of complaints, the Complaints Panel often faces the arduous task of balancing evidence submitted by one party against the other, without the benefit of exhaustive examination and cross-examination as in a proper court of law. In order to achieve what would be a fair and reasonable solution to the complainant, the Complaints Panel would carefully consider the merits of each case before making a ruling. This unfettered power of the Complaints Panel is reflected in Article 89(d) of the Articles of Association, which stipulates that the Complaints Panel shall not be bound by its previous decisions.