State regulators in Maine announced last week that they recovered millions for consumers in coverage and claim disputes last year.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance (BOI) handled almost 900 cases of complaint and 9,000 inquiries, as its Property and Casualty Division and Consumer Health Care Division recovered a total of more than $2.5 million for the state’s consumers in 2011.
“Most insurers operating in our state pay claims properly and quickly, but when individuals or business owners contact the Bureau because of a dispute … the Bureau can often provide assistance,” Eric Cioppa, superintendent of the BOI, said in a statement.
Insurers and drivers who reach an impasse usually go to state regulators to resolve their issues. Policyholders who have the lowest priced car insurance may be happy with their inexpensive rates but might find that, after collisions, they are dissatisfied with how much compensation their insurers provide and how long it takes for them to get that compensation.
Policyholders’ complaints are mostly related to delays and denials of claims, which made up more than half of the total complaints regulators received between 2009-11, according to data compiled and made public by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). State regulators regularly publish reports on the complaints each carrier receives, providing a valuable reference for shoppers looking for the insurers of top quality.
Recent regulatory reports showed that California, Michigan, Georgia, Montana, Ohio and North Carolina recovered almost $150 million total last year for consumers by resolving such disputes. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance reported this month that it saw a 50-percent jump in funds recovered from carriers and banks, recouping $32 million for consumers in the state last year.
Websites like Onlineautoinsurance.com also publish user reviews, a handy resource for consumers searching for appraisals of companies separate from regulators.