Wronged Mo. Car Insurance Policyholders Assisted by Regulators

U.S. map with Missouri highlightedThe Missouri Department of Insurance (DOI) recently announced it has assisted in returning $6.5 million dollars so far this year to policyholders who had asked for mediation in disputes with their coverage providers.

According to the DOI, there have been 3,200 complaints filed against insurers in the state in the first three quarters of 2010, with 702 of those being filed against Missouri auto insurance companies.

One of the department’s success stories was of a car insurance policyholder who had her accident damages claim denied by her provider. The insurer told her that, the day before the accident occurred, the policy had been canceled because she had failed to pay her bills — an allegation that she disputed. At the consumer’s request, the department contacted the coverage provider and ultimately determined that the woman’s premiums had in fact been paid but that the money had been “misapplied.” In the end, the company paid for her $9,000 claim, covering damages as well as the cost of a rental car.

State insurance departments exist to oversee the workings of insurers and to assist in these types of disputes between policyholders and coverage providers.

Aside from mediation, consumers can also use the departments’ resources to better avoid insurers that may have low customer-satisfaction records. These records are compiled by state departments and made available to the public. They weigh the total number of formal complaints filed against companies with the total number of policies written by those companies, and the resulting number is called the consumer-complaint ratio.

Although these ratios cannot predict customers’ satisfaction levels with 100-percent accuracy, they can assist consumers in getting better educated about a provider’s history.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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