Insurance regulators for New York State published a report saying that it has upheld one in every eight consumer complaints against providers of private passenger auto insurance last year. The Insurance Department affirmed complaints made by consumers against nearly 40 companies, which it has found to fall short in providing proper services to policyholders. Complaints were made through writing and were compiled by the department for deliberation. Delays in claims for no-fault policies and non-renewal of policies were the most common cause of grievance for vehicle owners in 2008.
New York State Insurance department reported that it has ruled in favor of 948 consumer complaints out of 7,237 complaints made against 38 insurers. Figures are based on the 2009 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints, which was released last week. The report contains grievances made to the Department, but not those made directly to insurers. This figure reflects cases auto insurers were not able to settle since consumers are encouraged to proceed to the Department only if they have not settled their complaints at the company level. Overall, state regulator ruled in favor of one complaint for every $9.7 million, based on total premium paid by car owners worth $10 billion.
The report further reveals that 4,316 complaints were withdrawn by consumers or not upheld by state regulator. Another 1,973 cases were not settled since they contain questions and disputes which are found by regulators to be undeterminable.
Among New York’s largest insurers, companies grossing more than $1 billion in premiums paid, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company had the least number of complaints upheld in relation to the number of premiums it has written. It has 75 while GEICO has 128 which put it at second place. They are followed by Allstate Corp. with 198.
Electric Insurance Group, QBE Insurance Group Ltd., American Express Groups, Amica Mutual Group, Main Street America Group,Balboa Life & Casualty Group, and Eveready Insurance Co. all had no upheld complaints. At the opposite end, Countrywide Insurance Co., Long Island Insurance Co., White Mountains Group and Tri-State Consumer Insurance Co. had the most number of complaints upheld against.
Superintendent James J. Wrynn in a public statement said that New York is a very competitive market for insurers so vehicle owners have a wide range of choices when choosing providers. He advised consumers to check policies, performance, and prices of companies all over the state so they can have the best deals available. Vehicle owners are further advised to take time when choosing a policy since auto insurance is not cheap these days. Consumers are also advised to follow proper steps in filing grievances so they will reach proper authorities.