During the first six months of 2006, the Idaho Department of Insurance handled 496 written consumer complaints related to insurance companies, and assisted consumers in recovering more than $767,000 in insurance premiums, claim payments and fees owed them by insurance companies, the DOI is reporting.
In 2005, the DOI received, processed and closed 1,045 written consumer complaints. The department assisted in recovering $3.3 million, which represented a significant jump over recoverings for 2004 of $1.5 million arising from 1,284 complaints. While 2005 was an exceptional year for recovering insurance consumer dollars, it appears that recoveries for 2006 may exceed most previous years, the DOI is reporting.
Last year, auto liability was the coverage that caused the most complaints, followed by those related to individual and group health insurance, life insurance and homeowner coverages, the DOI said in a release. The top five complaint categories were listed as unsatisfactory claim settlement offers (30 percent), denial of claims (19 percent), delays in the claim handling process (18 percent), and premium, rating and cancellation issues (11 percent). According to data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the top five types of complaints nationally are claim payment delays (22 percent), claim denials (19 percent), unsatisfactory settlement offers (14 percent), and premium, rating and cancellation issues (13 percent).
The DOI tracks state complaint data annually to look for patterns and trends that could signal problems, it said.
For information or a copy of the statistics or complaint form, visit www.doi.idaho.gov.
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