A recently released report from the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) shows that nearly 1 out of every 4 complaints that consumers filed in the first half of 2013 against insurance companies were against car insurers.
Complaints filed with the state insurance regulatory offices can result in funds recouped for consumers who disagree with their insurer over claims-related issues.
LDI reported that the state’s policyholders got $4 million in additional payments through negotiations that “help resolve disputes with insurers,” according to Jim Donelon, the LDI’s commissioner.
The monies were “in addition to the original amounts offered to consumers” by their insurers, according to the LDI.
Property/casualty coverage stood far above other lines of coverage in all categories reported by regulators, accounting for about 81 percent of recovered funds, almost 64 percent of filed complaints and about 75 percent of submitted inquiries.
Ileana Ledet, LDI’s deputy commissioner of public affairs, said that, of the 983 complaints filed about P/C insurers, 387 of those complaints were about Louisiana auto insurers.
Ledet said that the department could not provide data on how much of recovered P&C funds were specifically related to auto coverage or how many submitted inquiries were about auto insurers.
Overall, consumers went to the LDI with more than 2,200 inquiries and 1,500 complaints about insurers from January through June this year.
Total recovered funds in the first half of this year is above the $2.6 million recovered during the same period last year, and is on track to outpace the total $6.4 million in additional payments to policyholders in 2012.
State insurance regulators aid consumers by investigating complaints, answering questions about coverage, levying penalties for violations and acting as mediator when policyholders and their carriers disagree.
“We can assist in determining what options are available to consumers when they are unsatisfied with the resolution of a claim,” Donelon said in a statement.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which this year tapped Donelon as its president, reported last month that the most common reason for consumers to file complaints is claim payment delays. The next most common reason for a complaint was because of claim denials, followed by settlement amounts that policyholders found unsatisfactory.
Those reasons for complaints have been similarly ranked for several consecutive years, according to the NAIC.
However, the pecking order of complaint reasons for the LDI’s first half of 2013 was slightly different; Ledet said that the most common auto insurance complaints were “claims handling delays, unsatisfactory settlement offers and claims denials, respectively.”
Additional P/C Claim Payments Reach Almost $2M in Georgia
East across the Mississippi River, Georgia’s Department of Insurance (GDI) also reported its half-year recovery figures, which stood at $4.6 million in total.
Of that $4.6 million, GDI spokesman Glenn Allen said that $1.9 million were related to P/C insurers.
Figures specific to auto insurers were unavailable, Allen said.
The commissioner’s Consumer Services Division helped more than 4,600 consumers in settling disputes, according to the report.