Nearly $25 million returned to Missourians by insurance companies

JEFFERSON, Mo. – Consumers in Missouri received approximately $25 million more from their insurance companies last year thanks to the efforts of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The money returned to consumers was due to the Consumer Division’s mediation work and the Market Regulation Division’s efforts to ensure that insurance companies complied with Missouri insurance laws, according to a press release.

“One of our primary responsibilities is to protect Missouri consumers and ensure they are treated fairly by insurance companies,” said Chlora Lindley-Myers, director of the Department of Commerce and Insurance of the Missouri.

“We are a free resource to help people resolve any disputes they have with their insurance company.”

The press release says the Consumer Division handled a total of 2,581 formal complaints and assisted approximately 20,000 consumers by phone, in writing or in person at outreach events in 2021.

Nearly $15 million was returned to consumers through the Division, with the highest number of claims being accident, illness and auto insurance.

“The Consumer Division was able to repay significant recoveries on several life insurance and commercial property and casualty claims, including one, in particular, totaling over $1 million,” said consumer division director Carrie Couch.

“The biggest recovery came in early 2021. While investigating a consumer complaint, the investigator determined that other consumers may have been affected by a company’s internal billing error. . The company investigated the issue and determined that nearly $3 million in claims were incorrectly handled.

The Department’s Market Regulation Division “focuses on identifying and addressing systemic issues affecting Missouri insurance consumers. In some cases, market regulation actions may stem from consumer complaints that have been filed with the department’s Consumer Division, the press release said.

“In other cases, problems are identified through a review of documents filed by insurance companies and by monitoring the activities of insurance companies in the insurance market. In 2021, the Market Regulation Division recovered $10.8 million. That money went to 32,741 Missouri insurance consumers. Consumers benefit from restitution by receiving refunds from insurance companies for excess premium costs and by receiving payment from insurance companies for claims that have been wrongfully denied or underpaid.

Lindley-Myers stated that “market regulation plays two important roles in the insurance market. The first is to solve the problems that affect many consumers in the market and may involve violations of law that consumers may not know how to complain about.

“The second is to ensure a level playing field for all insurance companies, which encourages competition in the market. Missouri consumers benefit directly from a competitive insurance market when they have more choice in insurance products, companies, and better premiums.

A list of enforcement and market regulation measures taken by the department is available on the department’s website. website. Consumers with complaints or questions about their insurance agent or company can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Helpline at 800-726-7390 or visit assurance.mo.gov.

Kristan F. Talley