Department of Insurance study highlights failings of insurance companies

A study completed by California's Department of Insurance ranks various insurance providers in the state based on justified complaints. This study can provide assistance to those looking for coverage. For those dealing with an unresponsive insurance company, a more active approach may be required.

Insurance policies are intended to serve as a safety net. Consumers purchase these policies to help ensure the safety of their investments by reducing the potential financial fallout that could result if something catastrophic were to occur. These policies can provide coverage to aid loved ones in the event of a death through a life insurance policy or help rebuild a home in the event of a fire or other accident with a homeowner's policy. Policies can cover a range of events and policyholders trust that the companies they go into contract with will fulfill their end of the agreement.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In some instances an insurance company may argue that the event did not qualify for coverage and refuse to provide payment. In others, the company may underestimate the value of the damage done. Many states have enacted laws that are designed to help shield policy holders from mistreatment.

Insurance law: California

California state law requires the Insurance Commissioner investigates complaints and, when appropriate, bring forward enforcement actions against insurance companies. This law also requires that complaint and enforcement information be available to the public.

In an effort to meet this obligation, the agency recently made results of a study of insurance complaints available to the public.

Insurance complaints: A study by California's Department of Insurance

According to the agency, a complaint is deemed justified in a variety of circumstances. Qualifying circumstances include instances when the insurance company is found in violation of the state's Insurance Code or in violation of the insurance policy or agreement entered into between the provider and customer. The California Department of Insurance published the Consumer Complaint Study to provide information about insurance companies who failed to meet these obligations to the public.

The study ranked insurance providers based on their justified complaint ratio. This number was calculated by reviewing the number of justified complaints for every 100,000 policies the company provided. The information provided reviews the 50 large insurance companies that have licenses to conduct business in California for automobile insurance, homeowners insurance and life insurance.

Some of the more notable findings from the report include:

  • Automobile Complaint Composite Report: Of the 50 large automobile insurance companies that are licensed to conduct business in the state of California, Integon National Insurance Company ranked last with a complaint ratio of 16.5. Farmers Insurance Exchange, Nationwide Insurance Company of America and Progressive Select Insurance Company also ranked in the bottom half of the list.
  • Homeowners Complaint Composite Report: Federal Insurance Company ranked last with a complaint ratio of 23. Travelers Property Casualty Insurance Company ranked 49 th with a ratio of 17.4.
  • Life Complaint Composite Report: Monumental Life Insurance Company ranked last with a ratio of 16 and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company was ranked number one with a justified complaint ratio of 0.

Although this information can provide assistance to those looking for insurance coverage, policy holders who are currently dealing with an unresponsive insurance company may require a more proactive approach.

Legal counsel can help

Legal counsel can help those seeking payment from an unresponsive insurance company. An experienced insurance attorney can review your claim and help better ensure your rights are protected.

Keywords: insurance coverage auto insurance homeowner's insurance