The Kansas Insurance Department’s (KID’s) Consumer Assistance Division had a record year in 2007, recovering more than $13 million for Kansas insurance consumers, according to Commissioner Sandy Praeger.
Consumer Assistance – divided into Life & Health (L&H) and Property & Casualty (P&C) units – investigates inquiries and complaints filed by consumers, attorneys, companies and agents.
Consumer Assistance representatives from both units field calls to the KID Consumer Assistance Hotline, 800-432-2484. Kansans can call even if they just want their insurance policy explained or reviewed.
Steve O’Neil, Consumer Assistance L&H manager, estimated that each unit takes 30 to 60 calls per day. In 2007, the units closed more than 4,000 complaints and more than 1,400 inquiries.
Consumer Assistance employees come from varied work experiences, but they tend to have insurance or benefits backgrounds. Both units also have attorneys on staff.
A breakdown about complaints handled in 2006 follows:
Property & Casualty handled 51 percent of complaints: 37 percent concerned auto insurance and 14 percent homeowners’ insurance.
Life & Health handled 49 percent of complaints: 28 percent concerned health, 8 percent life, 5 percent HMOs, 5 percent long-term care and 3 percent annuities.
A total of 65 percent of all complaints dealt with problems related to claims processing.
The Consumer Assistance Hotline can be reached at 800-432-2484.
Source: Kansas Insurance Department, www.ksinsurance.org
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