Tennessee Sees Improvement in Number of Insurance Consumer Complaints in 2016

March 21, 2017

Insurance complaints ranked last of the top 10 complaint categories for 2016, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs.

The number of consumer complaints in 2016 related to insurance – 177 of a total of 4,432 total complaints – was an improvement from 2015 when the insurance complaints ranked eight of the top 10 with 213.

TDCI said the insurance category relates to pet insurance, consumer health insurance, and unlicensed insurance companies. Most consumers complained about policy coverage and claims. These complaints are often referred to TDCI’s Insurance Division.

Taking the No. 1 spot for consumer complaints in the state was the home improvements category with more than 400 consumer complaints.

TDCI’s Division of Consumer Affairs total of 4,432 complaints in 2016 was slightly higher than the 4,259 complaints reviewed by Consumer Affairs in 2015. TDCI also recovered both services and funds for Tennessee by working with consumers and businesses.

For 2016, the top 10 complaint categories and number of complaints per category included:

1.) Home improvements: 413 complaints

This category includes home warranties, as well as hiring a contractor for services to repair or improve the quality of your home. The most common complaints related to quality of work, incomplete work after receiving payment, and structural damage caused by employed individuals or businesses. Many of these complaints are referred to the Board for Licensing Contractors, Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) as well as the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA).

2.) Utilities: 298 complaints

This category includes gas service, water service, sewer, electricity, landline phone service, mobile phone service, Internet service, and cable. Problems with billing and maintenance were the most common complaints. Often, these complaints will be referred to the TRA or the investor-owned utility.

3.) Motor Vehicle: 265 complaints

This category often includes consumer dissatisfaction with the sale of the used vehicle they purchased. Problems with used vehicle sales and advertising were the most common complaints. Consumer Affairs often works closely with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission when handling these types of complaints. In addition, these complaints may be referred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

4.) Personal/Professional Services:  253 complaints

This category relates to services offered by licensed professionals working in the State of Tennessee, including hair stylists, massage therapists, nail technicians, and others. Common complaints include the quality of service, charges for service not received, and problems redeeming gift certificates for services offered. Some agencies these complaints could be referred to include TDCI’s Division of Regulatory Boards and Board of Professional Responsibility.

5.) Landlord/Tenant:  250 complaints

This category relates to consumers leasing rental property in the State of Tennessee. The most common complaints related to security deposits and the conditions of the rental property.  These complaints are most often referred to the THDA, city and county building codes enforcement, and TDCI’s Fire Prevention/State Fire Marshal’s Office.

6.) Timeshares/Vacation Clubs:  235 complaints

This category relates to consumers purchasing property under a timesharing agreement and the sale of these agreements. The most common complaints reported high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentation of the contract, and resale scams. The Division will often refer these complaints to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and the Board of Professional Responsibility.

7.) Health Services and Products: 219 complaints

Consumers’ most common complaints include being misquoted for services and inaccurate billing. The Division will refer appropriate complaints to the Tennessee Department of Health.

8.) Motor Vehicle Repair: 210 complaints

This category refers to companies offering services to repair vehicles. Most consumers report auto repair companies that return vehicles not fully repaired. The Division will refer to and work with the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, the NHTSA, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

9.) Debtor/Creditor: 192 complaints

This category includes matters related to debt collection companies, payday loans, credit

repair companies, and check-cashing services. Consumer complaints often related to
harassing phone calls or billing issues. These complaints are often referred to the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions.

10.) Insurance: 177 complaints

Complaints related to policy coverage and claims for pet insurance, health insurance, and unlicensed insurance companies. These complaints are often referred to TDCI’s Insurance Division.

Source: Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance

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