Georgia’s new Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck has issued several orders directed at insurers since he took office earlier this month as part of what he says is fulfilling his campaign promise to be a commissioner for consumers.
The directives – 19-EX-1 and 19-EX-2 – were issued Jan. 15 to all insurers licensed to do business in Georgia and all licensed companies writing private passenger auto and homeowners in the State of Georgia, respectively.
Directive 19-EX-1 says insurers must use the new Georgia Company Portal to transmit responses regarding consumer complaint inquires received from the Consumer Services Division.
According to the directive, all insurers licensed and admitted in Georgia must use the portal to “ensure that all insurers respond timely to inquires…”
The Company Portal was created when Beck took office on Jan. 15 and will be used by the Georgia Department of Insurance to communicate with insurance companies when a consumer files a complaint against them in the Consumer Complaint Portal, which was previously established. Through the Consumer Complaint Portal, consumers can file a complaint against a particular insurance company or a particular agent, according to a spokesperson from Beck’s office.
When GADOI receives a complaint about an insurer through the Consumer Complaint Portal, the company is then notified by the Company Portal, Beck’s office said. Insurers will receive up to two notifications of a complaint after which if no response is given to GADOI the insurer will receive a phone call from the department. If they still do not respond, the insurer will be sent to the GADOI enforcement division.
The other directive for insurers issued “in the spirit of providing rate transparency to Georgia insurance consumers,” requires all companies writing private passenger auto in Georgia to enter their rates into GADOI’s rate comparison portal once a submitted rate filing has been finalized.
“This [process] will allow consumers to have accurate, up-to-date information from an official and unbiased source when comparing prices or shopping for their auto insurance policy,” GADOI said in a statement.
GADOI is adding a certification process in its System for Electronic Rates & Form Filings (SERFF), which companies are currently required to use to file rates, that requires an attestation that the company’s current rates have been entered into the GADOI auto rate comparison portal to ensure companies have complied with the commissioner’s order.
Companies will have 10 days after the approval of a submitted filing to update their information in the rate comparison portal and will be notified of this requirement through SERFF. If 10 days have passed since a filing was approved and the company still has not updated their information in the rate comparison portal, they will be submitted to the GADOI enforcement division.
Any company that does not comply will be subject to administrative penalties.
Beck has also authorized consumers to SERFF so they can view the pending rate filings in the system by all insurers, the GADOI spokesperson said.
“In my campaign, I promised to be a day one Commissioner. I am proud to report we have now taken significant steps in fulfilling our day one promises by deploying several tools to empower consumers,” Beck said in a statement. “Over the next four years, I will defend consumers against fraud, promote transparency, and protect Georgia families.”
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