June 15, 2009

Consumers urged to research their insurance company

Jefferson City, Mo. - Consumers shopping for insurance can now take advantage of the latest complaint data released by the Missouri Department of Insurance. The annual complaint index report is posted and searchable at the department's Web site, insurance.mo.gov under the Information About Insurers section. Users can search more than 10,000 complaints against more than 600 insurance companies doing business in Missouri since 2006.

Each company listed in the department's online database is assigned a complaint index number.  The complaint index helps to explain whether a company has a high, average or low volume of complaints for a company its size. A complaint index of 100 is average. An index of less than 100 means a company receives fewer complaints than average; an index of above 100 means a company receives more complains than average.

"Before doing business with any kind of company, consumers should always do as much research as possible, and that's especially important with insurance companies," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). "Checking a company's complaint index helps explain to consumers how that insurer has treated its policyholders over the past three years."

Consumers can find:

  • Complaint index rating for a particular company
  • Rankings by line of insurance, such as auto, home, life and health
  • Most common reasons for complaints, such as policy cancellation or denial of claims

In addition to searching for consumer complaints, the department encourages consumers to verify whether a particular agent or insurance company is licensed to do business in Missouri as required by state law. That information is also available at the department's Web site.

Consumers without Internet access or with other questions can call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390. Consumers can also file complaints with the department at this number or at insurance.mo.gov.