Division of Insurance worked to recover $8.3 million for consumers from insurance companies last year
Good news for consumers as National Consumer Protection Week kicks off. 2016 recoveries increased by $1 million from 2015.
DENVER (March. 6, 2017) – As National Consumer Protection Week kicks off this week (March 5-11), the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), announced that it recovered $8.3 million for Colorado consumers in 2016. This is money that the DOI worked to get back to consumers from insurance companies.
“I love this part of DOI’s work,” said Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar. “Recoveries impact people in a very real way. It’s why we encourage Coloradans to contact us when they believe they are being treated unfairly by their insurance company.”
“We truly appreciate how seriously the Division of Insurance takes the needs of Colorado consumers and how hard they work to ensure that insurance companies are paying their claims to their customers,” said Joe Neguse, DORA Executive Director. “This is great news for Colorado consumers as we head into a week that nationally recognizes the importance of consumer protection. It’s also a good reminder to ‘Ask DORA’ if you have a question or concern.”
Recoveries are made up of different components.
- Reversing claims that were initially denied by insurance companies
- Additional payments for existing claims
- Coverage clarifications that result in claim payments or additional payments
- Paid claims after a policy has been reinstated
Recovery amounts can be large or small, but are always important to those receiving them. “The DOI analyst was able to get a refund of almost $500 for me - I would not have received it otherwise,” one person told the Division.
And often it brings an end to weeks or months of stress for consumers. One consumer told the DOI, “I am so grateful for your agency! I'd been trying to resolve an issue for three years and you did it in 30 days. Thank you!” Another said, “My only wish is that I would have contacted you sooner. Six months of frustration, all solved immediately by you.”
The consumer recoveries for 2016 are broken down into the following categories of insurance:
Annuities --- $622,230
Auto insurance --- $2,462,475
Health insurance --- $2,364,412
Homeowners insurance --- $917,235
Liability insurance --- $73,955
Life insurance --- $1,075,465
Other* --- $546,140
Title insurance --- $243,126
TOTAL --- $8,305,038
* Includes various types of insurance: commercial, worker’s compensation, pet, travel, dwelling fire (landlord’s insurance), cargo.
However, these recoveries do not account for DOI’s efforts in getting consumers’ insurance coverage reinstated after being erroneously terminated. “You can’t put a dollar figure on the sense of security someone gets in getting their insurance back - whether that’s homeowners, auto, life or health insurance,” said Commissioner Salazar. “But it’s just as important as the dollars we get back for consumers.”
For example, a consumer contacted the DOI after her insurance carrier cancelled her policy for non-payment of premium. After the DOI investigated, the company realized they made an error and reinstated the policy. In another instance, an insurance company did not renew a policy, but failed to provide notice of this within the time frame required by Colorado law. The DOI got the company to reinstate the coverage, which resulted in a claim of over $12,000 being paid.
The DOI regulates the insurance industry in Colorado and its mission is to promote compliance and enforce laws to help protect consumers. It is a resource for Coloradans, where insurance experts can answer questions and provide easy-to-understand information. If people believe a claim has been handled improperly, or has been denied when it shouldn’t have, the Division wants to know. If consumers are being mistreated or misinformed about their insurance, they should contact the DOI. Not all problems can be fixed, but asking questions and getting information is always helpful.
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.