Penn. Insurance Department Collects More Than $400K in Q2

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) collected more than $400,000 in fines and restitution while enforcing dozens of penalties and punitive actions against insurers and agents in the first quarter of the second quarter of the year, according to a recent report from the state’s regulatory agency.

The PID reported that it recouped $73,000 in restitution for consumers while charging insurers $343,000 in fines and penalties in the second quarter of 2013.

Regulators also reported closing 37 enforcement actions and market conduct investigations and receiving more than 3,600 written complaints from consumers.

State regulatory agencies overseeing the insurance industry investigate claims from consumers that their insurers were acting improperly, answer questions about coverage and return restitution to consumers who were illegally charged more than they should have been for policies.

Consumers can also verify the legitimacy of an agent or company with the advice provided in our article about the importance of validity when purchasing coverage.

Regulators Pull License, Find Overcharges

Among the PID’s investigations was an auto coverage-related case involving Colleen Zufall, an agent who admitted to violations stemming from a 2011 policy.

According to the case file, Zufall admitted to “backdating” a client’s Selective Insurance policy for auto coverage, effectively hiding a 10-day lapse in coverage.

The falsified information led to cheaper insurance premiums to the policy than would have been charged had the non-continuous coverage been reported to Selective. According to regulators, Zufall “admitted to the findings” from Selective investigators.

Zufall’s license was one of eight that regulators rescinded in the second quarter, according to the PID, which publicly posts all of the actions it takes against licensed agents.

While it was Selective’s investigators that initiated the case against Zufall, according to the regulators, the insurer itself was the target of one of PID’s second-quarter market conduct actions.

According the PID, investigators found violations at Selective that included dozens of overcharges. A report on the case showed that violations included 82 instances where the insurer failed to apply a 5 percent discount to drivers’ policies for completing “mature driver improvement courses.”

The violations led to overcharges of more than $1,600 total.

In its response to regulators, Selective reported that it had issued the required restitution to policyholders for violations.

According to the PID, regulators take action against licensed agents and insurers because they:
–Charged improper premiums
–Fell short of paying claims “in a timely fashion”
–Failed to disclose prior felonies and/or misdemeanors
–Presented false information on applications
–Failed to disclose required information

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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