Dairyland Auto paid more than $15,800 to car insurance customers in Vermont after regulators there uncovered mistakes the insurer had made evaluating total-loss auto claims years ago.
According to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), investigators found that Dairyland had “inaccurately calculated” 11 Vermont car insurance claims involving total-loss vehicles. The claims were dated between January and November 2011.
The average restitution payment for the claims was $1,440.
In an agreement with the DFR, Dairyland will edit its policies and procedures governing total-loss claims while implementing new training for staff who deal with such claims.
Susan L. Donegan, DFR’s commissioner, said that she was “pleased with the corrective actions” that Dairyland agreed to.
“The department’s No. 1 priority is Vermont consumers and this is a perfect example of how insurance laws and regulations guarantee fair treatment for all policyholders,” Donegan said in a statement.
Insurance regulatory offices exist in each state. They serve in several roles for the industry:
- As regulators of insurers that enforce industry laws and codes
- As investigators that delve into cases about fraud and misconduct
- And as consumer advocates answering queries and responding to complaints
This year, Vermont launched an “easy online method” of submitting complaints and inquiries to the DFR. The new online process also allows consumers to:
- Provide photos and documents electronically to “support their claims”
- Track the status of a complaint
- Receive an automatic email about the receipt of their complaint
Commissioner Donegan said the new process helps DFR staff respond online to 9 out of every 10 “submitted concerns” and strengthen the department as “a resource for all Vermonters.”
“This is only the first step in making the department’s website more user-friendly and we expect to see more and more people seeking information online in addition to submitting complaints and inquiries,” she said.