Harrisburg, PA - Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today announced the Insurance Department reclaimed $83,590,932 for more than 20,000 consumers throughout the state during 2018.
“Ensuring consumers are afforded all of the rights and protections guaranteed to them by Pennsylvania law is what we work for,” said Altman. “Protecting consumers and holding businesses to the highest standards continues to be our top priority.”
The Insurance Department is charged with upholding fair business practice standards for consumers, companies, and insurance professionals to ensure that consumers in Pennsylvania receive all protections to which they are entitled under the state’s laws and regulations. This work involves researching and resolving complaints from consumers, investigating allegations of misconduct from insurance companies, agents, brokers, and others, and ensuring that practicing professionals are properly licensed.
During 2018, 20,002 consumers around Pennsylvania received some form of restitution payment or credit. Below are some examples:
· Restoration of stolen funds when an agent collected payment from a consumer for a policy or annuity but did not send the money to the insurance company;
· Processing and payment of previously denied or underpaid claims when a company did not pay a claim as it should under the consumer’s policy;
· Refunding of overcharged premiums when an insurance company was found to be charged premiums above the rate that had been approved by the Insurance Department;
The Insurance Department helped provide more than $7 million in benefits to more than 900 Pennsylvanians last year through participation in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Policy Locator Service. Established in 2016, this service helps consumers locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts of deceased loved ones.
“My department has also gotten restitution for consumers through market conduct exams on two major health insurers doing business in the state,” Altman said. “These market conduct exams, which are underway on all of Pennsylvania’s major health insurers, are focusing on making sure consumers receive mental health and substance use disorder coverage at parity with medical and surgical coverage, as required by state and federal law. This is a key part of Governor Wolf’s battle against the opioid crisis in our state.”
Altman also noted that in some cases, the department’s findings can result in additional penalties, such as a suspension or revocation of a license, being assessed against the offending party. For example, she said her department revoked the licenses last year of two agents for selling unsuitable annuities to 42 consumers, costing these consumers more than $159,000 in surrender charges, while making the agents more than $136,000 in commissions on these inappropriate sales.
If you have a question about your insurance or need to file a complaint, you may contact the Insurance Department’s Bureau of Consumer Services at 1-877-881-6388 or online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman 717-787-3289 -
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