Report: Regulators Recover $2.8M for Auto Insurance Policyholders

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OnlineAutoInsurance.com recommends that consumers make sure they get educated on auto insurance practices and are clear on policy provisions at the outset so that disputes do not arise further down the road.

Last month, Colorado regulators released their report summarizing the Division of Insurance’s complaint-handling activity for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. According to the report, the DOI’s mediation of nearly 5,000 formal complaints during that period led to the recovery of more than $12 million for the state’s insurance consumers, with nearly $2.8 million of that sum being recovered as a result of complaints and protests filed against car insurers operating in the state.

Following a four-year trend, Colorado car insurance companies received the greatest proportion of consumer grievances filed with the DOI; formal complaints and protests made against auto coverage providers accounted for almost 55 percent of the total. The DOI notes in the report, though, that Colorado handles challenges against automotive insurers differently when compared to other states.

Colorado, like most states, allows policyholders to file complaints about disputes over coverage issues. But unlike other states, it maintains a separate category for protests against auto insurers, which generally deal with challenges against surcharges, policy cancelations and coverage reductions.

While formal complaints tend to have a high rate of confirmation — meaning the DOI found that the insurer had in fact acted wrongly — protests show a much lower rate. According to the most recent report, the percentage of complaints that were confirmed was 59 percent, but the percentage of confirmed protests was only 25 percent.

Source: http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/consumer/2010%20docs/consComplaintReportLegis09posted100110.pdf

The DOI compiles the Complaint Report annually in order to track trends in the state’s insurance industry. Consumers should not confuse this with the complaint ratio and index report, which lists annual complaint data for each company and weighs that data against the amount of premium dollars written. While the Complaint Report can be useful for regulators and legislators, the complaint ratio and index report can help consumers get a better understanding of the customer satisfaction they can expect from a prospective carrier. Most states’ regulators compile such reports, and they often make them publicly available through department websites.

To learn more about choosing a coverage provider, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/companies/ where visitors will also be able to compare rates by using the free quote-comparison generator.

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Benjamin Zitney
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