Division of Insurance recovers $38.4 million for Colorado consumers
Complaint investigations, life insurance and company reviews all contribute to total.
DENVER (Nov. 13, 2018) – The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), recovered $38,475,615 in the fiscal year 2017-18 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) for Colorado consumers. Part of that total was $11,398,379 recovered through the DOI’s investigations of consumers’ complaints against insurance companies, highlighted in the DOI’s annual Complaints Against Insurers report.
The report offers data and analysis of the year’s complaints. While investigations of consumer complaints that result in money going back to consumers are appreciated, providing an understanding of why a claim was denied or how insurance coverage works can be just as important to consumers as recovering money.
“Being a resource for Colorado consumers is a key part of our mission,” said Interim Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “Answering people’s questions, investigating their complaints, helping people get their claims paid and restoring coverage when it was improperly cancelled -- these are areas where we can really impact lives.”
The recoveries resulting from complaints are returned to consumers in the form of additional claim payments, overturned denials and refunds to policyholders. The largest share of the recoveries were from health insurance, at $3,672,165, then auto insurance at $2,289,259. Complaints regarding life insurance added another $1,823,882, while $1,437,613 came from homeowners insurance. The $11.3 million recovered is a 34 percent increase over the $8,517,971 recovered in fiscal year 2016-2017.
In addition to monetary recoveries, investigations can also result in the reinstatement of coverage after improper cancellations or non-renewals. There is no dollar value for such reinstatements, but they are another example of how the DOI helps Colorado consumers.
In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the DOI opened 3,124 complaints. The number of complaints closed by the team - meaning that the complaint was investigated to its conclusion - was 3,282. As in past years, complaints related to auto, health and homeowners insurance make up the majority of the numbers.
“The Consumer Services team is committed to helping the people of Colorado,” said Bobbie Baca, Director of Consumer Services for Property & Casualty Insurance for the DOI. “As the report shows, we investigate complaints and return money to people, but we also answer questions about insurance terminology and processes, and even simple inquiries like, ‘Can my insurance company do that?’’’
On top of the money recovered through consumer complaints, in fiscal year 2017-2018, the DOI also returned $4,395,226 to Coloradans through the Life Insurance Policy Locator. The locator is a tool that was developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) after regulators across the country recognized that lost policies were a growing problem.
The DOI also recovered another $22,682,010 for Colorado consumers through the activities of its Market Regulation section. This section performs examinations of insurance companies licensed or registered to do business in Colorado to ensure their compliance with Colorado laws, rules and regulations.
“When people think about insurance, they think about premiums,” added Commissioner Conway. “But the Division’s work goes beyond just reviewing premiums. We’re working to make sure that Coloradans are treated fairly by the industry and that they get what they have paid for in their insurance. I am extremely proud of the work our team did to recover $38.4 million for Coloradans last year.”
Consumers with insurance questions, concerns and complaints can contact the Consumer Services section of the Division of Insurance, a dedicated resource to work with consumers to answer their questions and investigate their complaints - 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us. Or visit the Question / Complaint page of the DOI’s website.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit dora.colorado.gov/insurance for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.
DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675.