Best and Worst Missouri Insurers Highlighted in New Report

Missouri best and worst auto insurers 2011A new report made public by the Missouri Department of Insurance last week shows that consumers consistently had more problems with auto insurers than any other type of coverage provider over the past five years.

The 2011 complaint report showed that 832 car insurance customers contacted the Department in 2011 with coverage problems, which was the most of all coverage types. The next closest was homeowners coverage, which was the cause for 617 complaints. All together, the Department fielded 2,790 total complaints, which was the lowest total in the past five years.

Policyholders often use regulators to act as an objective third party to help resolve coverage disputes with their insurers. The Department gave the example in a 2010 press release of a woman who had contacted regulators after her insurer told her she would not be covered for an accident because her coverage was canceled the day before it had occurred. The reason was that she hadn’t paid her bills. After the Department contacted the company and investigated the case, it was determined that they had simply misapplied the funds that the policyholder had sent them. The company ended up providing $9,000 worth of coverage for repairs and a rental car, which the woman would have otherwise had to pay for.

Not all complaints have such a positive resolution, however. According to the report, only about 39 percent of the car insurance complaints filed with the Department are resolved “with consumer relief.” David Owen, a public information specialist from the Department, said a complaint is resolved with consumer relief if “the carrier made some concession” to the person who filed the complaint. “For example, they might have agreed to pay a formerly denied claim,” Owen said in an email.

The report also aggregates statistics showing why consumers contacted the Department to help resolve their issues. The vast majority—81 percent—of complaints are filed regarding how an insurer handled a claim, and most of them are from consumers who are unhappy with either how long a claim took to close, the fact that their claim was denied or the size of the settlement that they were offered.

Best and Worst Insurers

The complaint statistics are also organized by company, which makes the document a good resource for shoppers who are looking to purchase coverage from one of the best-rated auto insurance companies around.

To compare the companies, the Department weighs the number of complaints a company had with the amount of premiums they had in place as well as the industry average.

Out of the 121 companies that wrote more than $1 million in auto coverage in Missouri between 2009 and 2011, the average insurer had about 22 complaints and wrote nearly $23.5 million in premiums during the three-year period.

The company that had the best record was Travelers Property Casualty, which received no complaints from its customers, who paid the company a total of about $2.4 million over the three-year period.

Affirmative Insurance had the worst track record of companies still writing coverage in the state. Affirmative had 51 complaints over the three-year period and collected nearly $5 million in premiums during that time.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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