State Insurance Regulators Report Consumer Recoveries for 2013

Auto insurance claimSeveral state insurance regulators recently reported on funds recovered in 2013 for consumers who had complaints and disputes with their coverage providers.

According to figures provided by regulators in California, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Maine, a total of more than $125 million in funds from those states were recovered in 2013.

Auto Insurance Leads Recovery Figures Nationwide

Generally, recovered funds are related to claim disputes or regulatory investigations into insurers’ business practices.

According to data from National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) released late last month, auto coverage produced 23,342 complaints nationwide in 2013. Auto insurance led all types of coverage with 37.6 percent of complaints last year.

“Accident & health” complaints were a close second, with 22,379 complaints, which made up 36.1 percent of complaints nationwide that year.

The latest NAIC data also tracked the number of complaints that state insurance regulators received up to Jan. 27. According to those figures, auto-related complaints trailed accident & health complaints, 1,108 to 694.

According to the NAIC report, the number of total complaints has been shrinking nationwide since 2011 while the number of auto-related complaints in 2013 hit a low in that three-year period:

    2011     2012     2013
Total complaints    73,093    68,953    62,049
Auto-related complaints       24,806    25,068    23,342


The NAIC also categorized
complaint figures by reason, which showed that claim delays was the most common reason that complaints were submitted in 2013. The second-most cited reason for a complaint was claim denial.

California

Regulators in California reported more than $63.7 million in recoveries for the state’s consumers, with more than $55.6 million of that coming from the Consumer Services Division, which handles complaints that consumer submit to regulators.

In addition, California’s regulatory department said that its Market Conduct Division recovered more than $8 million from 132 examinations of insurers in 2013.

“As the leader of the largest consumer protection agency in the state, I’m proud we were able to assist so many consumers last year,” Dave Jones, the state’s insurance commissioner, said in a statement.

Ohio

Insurance regulators in Ohio recovered $23.5 million and received 5,397 consumer complaints in 2013.

The number of complaints about Ohio auto insurance made up the second-highest share of coverage types, with 24.3 percent. Accident & health coverage led complaints by coverage type, with 41.4 percent.

Georgia

Peach State regulators reported last month that they recovered more than $9.3 million in insurance claim funds for consumers in 2013.

Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens said in a statement that regulators help consumers retrieve claim money that “they might not have received” otherwise.”

North Carolina

Last week, the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) reported more than $27.2 million in “recoveries and savings” for consumers in the Tar Heel State.

Those funds include restitution in cases brought to court by the NCDOI’s Criminal Investigation Division. Investigators recorded 231 arrests and 85 convictions in 2013.

One recent case involved a GEICO claim in which a North Carolina woman said her vehicle had sustained damage from a collision with a deer. Investigators allege that the claim was bogus and that the damage was related to a hit-and-run incident in 2013.

Maine

In 2013, almost $2 million was recovered by regulators in Maine, according to Eric Cioppa, the state’s insurance superintendent.

The Property & Casualty Division in the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions accounted for nearly $400,000 of that total, said Cioppa, who said that the recovered monies “represent contested claims that likely would not have been paid without the intervention of Bureau staff.”

The Property & Casualty Division received more than 4,000 inquires and 300 complaints in 2013.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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