February 28, 2014

Missouri Department of Insurance assists consumers in recovering $16.1 million from their insurance companies in 2013

Recoveries grow by $5.1 million in 2013

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance returned $16.1 million to consumers in 2013 after they filed a complaint against their insurance company. It is the second-highest recovery on record.

"Our department strives to hold insurers accountable for what they promise consumers in their policies," said Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff. "Returning more than $16 million in 2013 demonstrates our commitment to protecting Missourians."

Record recoveries were recorded in 2011 when several natural disasters struck, including the Joplin tornado. The second-highest amount the department returned to consumers in a non-natural disaster year was $14.9 million in 2009.  

In 2013, the department obtained 1,017 additional insurance payments for consumers. Notable recoveries include:

  • A mid-Missouri woman sought DIFP's assistance in getting a life and two other insurance claims paid after her father died from a motorcycle accident. The insurer had paid the basic life policy claim, but the supplemental life and accidental death portions remained unpaid. Once the department got involved, the company paid $255,000 for the coverage.
  • An insurance company had rescinded a woman's life insurance policy before she died. Her husband discovered that the company had rescinded her policy based on medical information provided for a critical care policy she had with the same company. The woman had applied for both policies on the same day. Once the department got involved, the company agreed to reverse the rescission and pay $10,000 in life insurance benefits.
  • A fire devastated a Madison County woman's home. During the claims process, she experienced long delays, unsatisfactory offers from the insurance company and negative interactions with claims adjusters. Once she contacted the DIFP for help, the insurer paid $209,903 for damages to her home.
  • An insurance company accepted liability for a third-party claim that involved extensive damages to a Clay County woman's vehicle. The company agreed to an estimate and allowed work to begin; however, the estimate exceeded the insured's limits. Had the woman known the damages exceeded the limits, she would have filed the claim with her own company. After the woman filed a complaint with the DIFP, the department contacted the insurer. It agreed to pay her a diminished value of $5,056 and facilitated the sale of her vehicle for $24,000. The funds from both allowed her to buy a new vehicle.

The department fielded more than 3,700 formal complaints, answered more than 20,800 calls and handled 9,052 inquiries in 2013. Health insurance generated the most complaints with 916 complaints. The top complaints by reason and type of insurance were:

 

Complaints by reason

Complaints by line of insurance

Denial of claim (894)

Health (916)

Delay of claim processing (689)

Auto (810)

Unsatisfactory offer (433)

Homeowners (569)

Consumers with complaints or questions about their insurance claim or policy provisions are encouraged to call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 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 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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