In Wash., Hartford Cos. Fined after Self-Reported Overcharges

Four Washington state car insurers will pay a total of $100,000 in fines after they reported to regulators that they overcharged thousands of their customers on their auto policies.

Mike Kreidler, Washington’s insurance commissioner, recently announced the fine levied against Hartford Accident and Indemnity, Hartford Casualty, Hartford of the Midwest and Trumbull Insurance, which is in addition to more than $1 million that the companies already refunded in April to customers they overcharged.

The amounts were paid back with 8 percent interest.

Kreidler said the companies “promptly agreed to issue the refunds” after they brought the overcharges up to regulators themselves.

“To their credit—and as required by law—the companies self-reported the error that led to these overcharges,” Kreidler said in a statement.

The overcharges occurred when the companies based applicants’ premiums on their history with non-standard insurers using an “unapproved rating factor” on nearly 4,800 policies,  according to Kreidler.

Kreidler said that the case was another example of the important rate review and consumer advocacy duties his regulatory office conducts to make sure consumers are protected.

“It’s important that companies charge what they say they’re going to charge,” he said.

Regulatory offices and departments like those led by Kreidler are meant to aid consumers in disputes with insurers, recover funds that insurers erroneously charge to consumers and answer consumers’ questions about coverage rates and ratings.

In other recent news from regulatory offices in the U.S., Oregon car insurers incorrectly charged drivers for legitimate lapses in coverage and Louisiana regulators reported on the hundreds of complaints they received in the first half of 2013.

 

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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