March 31, 2014

Missouri Department of Insurance marks 145th year

Department continues constitutional mandate to advocate for consumers

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance marked its 145th anniversary this month. It was March 4, 1869, when the Missouri legislature created the Division of Insurance.

At the time, 171 insurers were authorized to sell insurance products in Missouri. The companies held more than $238 million in assets to back these products. Today, the department regulates nearly 1,500 insurance companies doing business in Missouri with $5.2 trillion in assets. 

"I'm proud of the rich history the department has maintained for nearly a century and a half," said John M. Huff, director of the department. "From the very beginning, our department's mission has been to protect Missouri consumers and to promote a fair marketplace for the industry."

The Missouri Constitution was amended in 1991 to separate the Division of Insurance from the Department of Economic Development and to make it a department. When the Department of Insurance was created, state statute also required establishment of a Division of Consumer Affairs to protect Missourians.

That directive continues today as the Consumer Affairs team advocates for consumers and investigates claims at no cost to consumers. Under Director Huff's leadership, the Consumer Affairs Division has helped consumers recover additional payments exceeding $72 million from insurance companies since 2009. 

In addition to Consumer Affairs, the department has three other divisions: Insurance Company Regulation, Insurance Market Regulation and Administration, which licenses nearly 150,000 insurance agents and agencies.

The department regulates premium sales of over $33 billion annually. Premium taxes generated $236.7 million for the state's general revenue and school funds in 2013. The department receives no general revenue from the state, but is funded through fees from the industries it regulates.

Director Huff encourages Missourians to call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov when they have coverage questions or insurance complaints.

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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