Assistance provided by insurance experts working Florida’s Insurance Consumer Helpline led to the recovery of more than $16.6 million during the first half of 2017, according to a statement by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
Helpline experts answered more than 141,000 calls from Floridians during the first six months of the year and aided in the recovery of funds that included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.
The Insurance Consumer Helpline is a free service offered to all Floridians that assists callers with financial and insurance-related matters including disaster preparation and insurance fraud, as well as questions and complaints regarding auto, home, health, life, and small business insurance.
According to DFS, one such claim related a homeowner after they received payment following Hurricane Matthew. The Pinellas County consumer contacted the helpline when her insurance company denied coverage for additional damage that had been discovered. Even after sending in additional documentation, she was unable to resolve the issue. Upon calling the company, helpline experts were told that a simple processing error was to blame, not a denial. The company promptly processed the claim, paying out an additional $4,700 to the consumer.
Another customer in Brevard County contacted the Helpline when medical claims payments related to treatment for her son never arrived. The company explained to helpline experts that the payments had been processed but the company could not explain why they had not been received. A widespread system error was discovered and the company realized that payment checks for 53 consumers had never been mailed. In total, more than $24,000 in unmailed payments went out to the 53 consumers, including the original caller.
Patronis said calls to the helpline also create a record of complaints on if a company is engaged in a practice that leaves a lot of consumers feeling mistreated. That alerts regulators and gives the public a way to keep track of companies that may be stirring up problems.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services
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