OAI: Missouri Recovery Report Highlights Role of Insurance Regulators

January 25, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Missouri regulators' announcement this week that they returned a record-setting $21 million to policyholders in the state in 2011 highlights the crucial role that the state Department of Insurance plays, according to Online Auto Insurance.

Consumers who are unhappy with their providers' actions can file a complaint with the department and ask regulators help them resolve the disputes with their insurers. That complaint process not only helps current policyholders get what's due to them but also assists prospective customers, who in most states have access to the company-specific complaint data that are made public by regulators.

Regulators and consumer groups advise motorists to not stop the shopping process after finding the cheapest insurance company available but to go on to review complaint data as a way of getting a feel for an insurer's track record for customer satisfaction.

Last year alone, the department's office received more than 33,300 total complaints.

According to the announcement from state officials, the biggest share of complaints was related to insurers' denial of policyholders' claims. The next largest shares were for delays in claim processing and dissatisfaction with settlement offers.

Complaints about health and auto coverage have consistently declined from 2009 to 2011. During that period, the volume of complaints about health policies dropped by 34 percent, while complaints about auto coverage dropped by about 23 percent. The change in complaints regarding homeowners coverage was not significant.

Large portions of the recoveries this year were associated with the tornadoes that hit Joplin, St. Louis and Sedalia. Together, about $5.4 million in recoveries were associated with those disasters.

The total recovery amount was more than twice as large as the $10 million recovered in 2010.

Source: http://insurance.mo.gov/news/2012/Department_of_Insurance_returns_record_recoveries_to_Missouri_consumers_in_2011#.Tx3S1KVAZoF

To learn more about this and other auto insurance issues, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/cheap/companies/ where visitors will find informative resource pages and an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator that can help shoppers compare the best rates quickly.