October 13, 2009

Missouri Department of Insurance returns nearly $11 million to consumers during first nine months of 2009

Jefferson City, Mo. - Consumers who filed complaints with the Missouri Department of Insurance received almost $10.7 million from insurance companies during the first nine months of 2009. The money was returned as a result of the department's mediation efforts on behalf of consumers who had filed complaints.

The most common reasons for complaints to the department included denial of claims, claims delays, and unsatisfactory offers.  The department recorded the most complaints in the following types of insurance: auto, group health, individual health and homeowners.  Some notable accomplishments from the past three months:

 Earlier this year a family of nine from southwest Missouri filed a complaint against their homeowners insurance company regarding a tornado loss that left them in a hotel room for over a month.After the department's involvement, the family received a final recovery from the insurer of nearly $278,000.

  • After being denied coverage for treatment of lymphoma, a consumer filed a complaint with the department. After mediation by the department, the insurance company overturned the denial and approved the procedure, which cost more than $250,000.
  • After purchasing life insurance with the proceeds of her late husband's life policy, a consumer complained that her new policy did not include the benefits she had been promised. After the department's involvement, the consumer's policy was re-written and her insurance company returned $109,846 to her.

 "We work to ensure Missourians are treated fairly by insurance companies.  Our team takes each and every complaint seriously," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). "Returning almost $11 million to policyholders is a significant demonstration of our commitment to protecting Missouri consumers."

 In the first nine months of 2009, the department fielded almost 4,200 formal complaints and assisted nearly 3,000 consumers in writing and another 21,000 over the telephone. The top categories of complaints were as follows:

By reason

By line of insurance

Denial of claim

Private passenger auto

Delay of claim processing

Group health

Unsatisfactory settlement offer

Individual accident and health

Claim handling

Homeowners

 

Consumers with questions about their insurance claim or policy provisions can call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or file a complaint at insurance.mo.gov. 

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

 The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals.  The department's seven divisions work to maintain consumer confidence by examining and monitoring industries and professions and by establishing coherent and evolving policies.  DIFP works to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.   

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

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