Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller announced that the state’s Insurance Department reclaimed $185,055,050 for insurance consumers throughout the state during 2015.
The commissioner said that throughout 2015, the state’s Insurance Department helped 12,307 consumers around Pennsylvania receive some form of restitution payment or credit.
Miller said consumer protection is a top priority for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Insurance Department.
“We will always hold businesses to the highest standards and will continue to work to ensure consumers are afforded all of the rights and protections guaranteed to them by Pennsylvania law,” Miller said.
A large share of the reclaimed funds came from settlements with life insurance companies. The Insurance Department said last August that it recovered more than $70 million overall for nearly 4,300 beneficiaries through the first six months of 2015 as Pennsylvania continues to serve as a lead state in several multi-state examinations of business practices in the life insurance industry.
The Insurance Department said some companies in the life insurance industry were making selective use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF), and instead of paying policy benefits upon a policyholder’s death, the companies were only terminating payment of annuity benefits.
These life insurance companies will now properly use the DMF to identify potentially unpaid insurance benefits and locate beneficiaries.
Other examples of restitution include: refunding of overcharged premiums when an insurer was found to be charging premiums above the approved rate; processing and payment of previously denied or underpaid claims when an insurer did not pay a claim as it should under the consumer’s policy; and restoration of stolen funds when an agent collected payment from a consumer for a policy or annuity but did not send the money to the insurer.
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is charged with upholding fair business practice standards for consumers, companies, and insurance professionals to ensure that consumers in Pennsylvania receive all protections to which they are entitled under the state’s laws and regulations.