Consumers who filed complaints with the Missouri Department of Insurance have received almost $8 million in additional claims payments from their insurance companies in the nine months of 2012.
The department said it has recovered $7.7 million for consumers through the first three quarters this year.
Consumers have contacted the department with more than 26,600 complaints and inquiries.
“Consumers have a free but valuable resource in the Department of Insurance,” said director John M. Huff. “A claim denial is not the end of the road — I strongly encourage consumers to contact our department if they reach an impasse with their insurance company.”
The department received 10,216 written inquiries and complaints — and took more than 16,000 phone calls from consumers. The most common categories of complaints received from consumers statewide:
|By reason||By line of insurance|
|Claim denials (659)||Health (801)|
|Delay of claim processing (494)||Auto (646)|
|Unsatisfactory offer (473)||Homeowners (570)|
The department’s Market Conduct Section has returned nearly $1.5 million to consumers, health care providers and the state as a result of exams and investigations in the first half of the year. Enforcement actions have also resulted in more than $4.8 million in penalties paid by insurance companies to the Missouri State School Fund.
Market conduct exams and investigations aim to ensure insurance companies are complying with state law in their treatment of customers, including the rates being charged and the way claims are handled. Exams can result in refunds for consumers, fines for companies, changes in business practices and other remedies.
Since 2009, market conduct enforcement actions have generated $11.9 million in payments from insurance companies. The money goes toward refunds for consumers, general revenue and the State School Fund.
Source: Missouri Department of Insurance