People's Trust Ranks Number 1 for complaints...again.
In Florida, the Office of Insurance Regulation is required by Florida Statute §624.313 to publish statistics and ratios on the complaints consumers submit against insurance companies. The OIR's primary responsibility is regulation, compliance, and enforcement of statutes relating to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. The OIR must annually publish several categories of information about the insurance companies doing business in Florida.
There is quite a bit of delay in publishing the complaint information to the public. The 2010 report, for example, was not released until February 2011, and that report looked at complaints made by insureds during the 2009 calendar year. We posted an easy to read chart last year in http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2011/07/articles/florida-insurers/top-50-florida-homeowner-insurers-consumer-complaint-stats-from-2009/
The report data for 2010 shows that the number of "official complaints" filed against insurance companies dropped compared to 2009 and, also surprising, the complaint share against the state backed carrier, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, decreased.
However, many of main offenders in 2009 also topped the list for 2010 complaints. People's Trust holds the title of having the highest complaint index two years running-- this is quite a statistic for a company that has only been insuring Floridians since March 6, 2008.
Perhaps the number of complaints decreased in 2010 because the number of claims decreased, but it would be interesting to hear from insureds to see how many were dissatisfied with a claim experience compared to the numbers of insureds who actually filed a written complaint for help.
Last July, I was intrigued by Julie Patel's investigative report on insurance complaints and posted about how difficult the insurance department webpage can be to navigate if an insured is looking to file a written complaint online.
The complaint form isn't even called a complaint form, so I have a hunch that many more dissatisfied insureds in Florida never file a complaint or perhaps, they start a google search about filing a complaint and end up leaving the myfloridacfo webpage without filing anything because the form is buried!
While the OIR report describes what it considered a COMPLAINT, we have no way of knowing how many complaints weren't filed or how many complaints were not counted by the OIR because they did not qualify or meet the OIR's recording rules for "written complaints." Calls to the department are not counted by the OIR and it is unclear whether written anonymous complaints are counted.
Since this is Consumer Awareness Week, maybe this post will get the attention of the Department of Financial Services and the complaint form will be made more accessible to Floridians-- also allowing the OIR more accurate data.
We know the Director of the Department of Financial Services' Division of Consumer Services is reading our blog, she posted a comment on Sean Shaw's post regarding consumer resources just two days ago.
Director Carter commented about a new consumer resource,
Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater issued a press release announcing our newest online resource, an OnDemand Library of educational presentations and videos on various insurance and financial topics that will allow consumers to educate themselves at a time that is right for them. From our online Insurance Library to our numerous consumer guides, all of our services are designed to empower Florida consumers to make informed financial decisions for their families and businesses.
Perhaps Director Carter will also address making information more easily accessible when it comes to telling the Department about problems or dissatisfaction consumers may be experiencing with their insurance carrier.