Alabama Insurance Commission Deadline Passes, Insurers Have 30 Days to Pay Claims

March 29, 2005

The March 25 deadline, set by the Alabama Department of Insurance for insurers to settle Hurricane Ivan-related claims or report to the department why they have not been settled, has passed and according to a DoI spokesman, unsettled cases are being tallied with insurers “on-the-clock” to pay the claims within 30 days.

According to the insurance department, insurers that do not policyholders by April 25 will face fines of up to $1,000 per violation and their licenses will be in jeopardy, said Ragan Ingram, an assistant commissioner with the department.

Insurers with unresolved claims have until April 11 to file reports with the Insurance Department. The reports will be kept confidential and will only be given publicly in a summary format that gives no information about specific companies, according to a March 21 memo from Insurance Commissioner Walter Bell.

Before the deadline the insurance department estimated there were 7,000 of about 200,000 claims unsettled.

“We think it’s less than that but we don’t have a hard number,” Ingram told the Mobile Register. “Basically the clock has ended but the totals haven’t been added up.”

The Insurance Department on Feb. 23 issued an order for all insurers to settle Ivan claims within 30 days. The directive came in response to a spike of policyholder complaints and a settlement rate that had stagnated at about 95 percent, Insurance Department officials said.

“What we’re hearing is there’s been a lot more action in the last two or three weeks,” Ingram said. “Clearly this has had a positive impact. Is the situation over with? No.”

Ingram said policyholders with complaints can filed them online at the agency’s website or via mail to P.O. Box 303351, Montgomery, AL 36150-3351. The department can be reached at (334) 269-3550.

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