January 15, 2014

Missouri Department of Insurance reaches settlement with Nationwide Insurance after market conduct exam

Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri insurance regulators today announced a settlement agreement with Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Co. and Farmland Mutual Insurance Co. after a market conduct examination into their handling of workers' compensation insurance. Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff announced that as part of the settlement, Missouri will receive $142,250 and policyholders will receive $250,000 in restitution.

The settlement was reached after a market conduct examination revealed that Nationwide offered a dividend plan to some policyholders, but not to other policyholders. The companies will pay $250,000 to policyholders excluded from the dividend plan. The exam also found that Nationwide and Farmland failed to properly apply the Second Injury Fund surcharge rate to premium, utilized base rates that were not on file with the department and failed to apply the administrative surcharge rate to premium. As a result of the additional findings, the companies will pay $142,250 to the Missouri State School Fund.

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, the way insurers handle claims and other responsibilities under state law. 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 $20 million in payments from insurance companies. The money goes toward refunds for consumers, general revenue and the State School Fund.

Consumers who have complaints or general questions about life and other types of insurance can call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or by visiting insurance.mo.gov.