Admiral Insurance apologies over Welsh language complaint

An insurance company has apologised to a Welsh speaking customer who said he was told every conversation had to be recorded in English.

Customer Gwion Schiavone had taken his complaint against Admiral Insurance to the Welsh language commissioner.

Meri Huws said she needed evidence before investigating but First Minister Carwyn Jones said he would look into the complaint.

Admiral employs 5,000 people in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.

Mr Schiavone told BBC Wales' Welsh language news programme Newyddion 9 that the insurance company told him every conversation had to be conducted in English to satisfy regulators.

The company has since said this was not its policy and apologised for the error.

'Preferred language'

In a statement, the company said: "I'm sorry Mr Schiavone was told he could not conduct his business with Admiral in Welsh.

"It is not our policy that all calls must be conducted in English and Mr Schiavone should not have been told this was the case."

First Minister Carwyn Jones said he was "happy" to look into the matter.

"It doesn't make business sense for a company to be seen as one which fails to provide services in Welsh, especially a big company," said Mr Jones.

"I would think that Admiral would want to ensure that services in Welsh are available."

In a letter to Mr Schiavone, Admiral said there was no guarantee a Welsh speaker would be available in future to answer customer calls.

The Welsh language commissioner said she was unable to hold an investigation due to a lack of evidence.

A spokesperson for Meri Huws said: "The Welsh language commissioner encourages all private sector companies in Wales to engage with their customers through their preferred language.

"However, the commissioner recognises that there is no statutory obligation on Admiral to offer services in Welsh."

Mr Schiavone said he has asked Admiral for a copy of the telephone conversation.

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