September 03, 2015

Missouri Department of Insurance fines auto insurer Safe Auto for alleged violations

Insurer failed to provide anti-theft discounts

Jefferson City, Mo - Missouri motorists insured by Safe Auto may receive a refund or credit thanks to a market conduct examination conducted by the Missouri Department of Insurance. The department contends that the auto insurer failed to provide anti-theft discounts on vehicles that qualified for the discount between 2008-2015. In addition to paying refunds to consumers, the insurer will also pay an $80,000 fine. Insurance fines are deposited to the Missouri State School Fund, by state statute.

"When Missourians purchase insurance coverage, insurers must honor the complete terms of the policies, including providing discounts as promised in the insurance policies," said Department Director John M. Huff. "Our market conduct team will continue to hold insurance companies responsible for keeping their business practices compliant with the terms of the insurance policies and Missouri law."

According to claims raised by the department in the examination, Safe Auto only provided the discount to policyholders who affirmatively indicated to the company that the vehicle contained anti-theft equipment, rather than to all policyholders whose vehicles contained such equipment.  Additionally, Safe Auto allegedly failed to provide discounts for airbag, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and passive restraints on certain vehicles in which insurance quotes were issued via the insurer's website. 

Consumers seeking information whether they may be eligible for a refund or credit from Safe Auto should call 844-248-7021. The company has indicated it expects the toll-free number to be operational after Labor Day.  Consumers can also contact their agents if they have eligibility questions.

In market conduct exams and investigations, the Department of Insurance reviews insurance company practices regarding the treatment of policyholders. This includes the way premium rates are charged and claims are handled. These reviews can result in refunds for consumers, fines and corrections in business practices, as well as other remedies. Since the beginning of 2009, market conduct enforcement actions have generated more than $41 million in payments from insurance companies. The money goes toward refunds for consumers, general revenue and the Missouri State School Fund.

Consumers who have complaints or general questions about insurance, can call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or by visiting 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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