Complaint Dept. – Who’s Your Insurance Advocate?

Almost 200,000 consumer complaints were filed with U.S. insurance departments in 2008, according to data released today by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Not surprisingly, claim handling generates the highest number of complaints. Perceived delays in handling claims are historically the top consumer complaint, followed by denial of a claim, and an unsatisfactory settlement or offer. 2008 was no different.

Claims Leads the Charge
While the complaint reasons remained the same over the past three years, NAIC data indicates that 5300 fewer claim complaints were filed in 2008 than 2007. Underwriting complaints (premium and cancellation) also decreased for the third consecutive year. Policy service (questions, billing, etc.) generated relatively few complaints, indicating that most insurance customers were able to get their routine questions answered satisfactorily.

Medical Insurance Generates Most Complaints
Health insurance was once again the most common type of coverage people complained about, followed by auto and homeowners insurance. Homeowners policy complaints decreased by 13,500 from 2006 to 2008, reflecting less underwriting turbulence in the property market.

What does this mean?
The way we see it, the NAIC report reinforces the value of a local independent agent, one who knows you and can advocate and advise clients on all aspects of their insurance, from claims to underwriting to service.

Who’s in Your Corner?
An independent agency like Noyes Hall & Allen can provide advice in a different way than an agent who’s an insurance company employee (direct writer), or one who represents only one company (captive agent). And, of course, being able to sit across the table from your agent, instead of talking to the next representative in queue at a remote call center is inherently more valuable.

If you have any questions about your insurance, we’re here to help!