Imagine if you were responsible for overseeing Florida’s insurance regulations and a subordinate came to you with a problem:

“Boss, we have so many complaints about insurance companies mistreating policyholders coming into the complaint telephone line that the entire staff only has time to take the calls and log the complaint. We do not have anybody left to follow up on the complaint. What do we do?”

What would you do?

I ran the query on ChatGPT-4, and the computer gave this answer:

As the person responsible for overseeing Florida’s insurance regulations, I would take a systematic approach to address the high volume of complaints and the lack of resources to follow up on them:

  • Assess the situation: Gather data on the number of complaints received, the types of complaints, and the insurance companies involved. Identify trends and prioritize issues based on severity and frequency.
  • Optimize the complaint process: Review the current complaint intake process and identify areas for improvement. This could include implementing an online complaint submission system, creating a standardized complaint form, and providing clear guidelines on what information is needed from the policyholders.
  • Allocate resources: Based on the assessment, determine the staffing needs and budgetary requirements to handle the volume of complaints. Request additional resources, if needed, to ensure timely and effective follow-up on complaints.
  • Implement a triage system: Prioritize complaints based on their urgency and potential impact on policyholders. This will help allocate resources more efficiently and ensure that the most critical issues are addressed first.
  • Collaborate with insurance companies: Engage with insurance companies to address the underlying issues causing the complaints. This could include regular meetings to discuss common issues, sharing best practices, and setting expectations for resolving complaints in a timely manner.
  • Train staff: Provide training and support to staff to ensure they are equipped to handle complaints efficiently and effectively. This could include training on communication skills, relevant insurance regulations, and investigative techniques.
  • Monitor progress: Regularly review the complaint resolution process to identify areas for improvement and track the progress made in addressing complaints. Adjust strategies as needed to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Increase transparency and communication: Keep policyholders informed about the status of their complaints and the steps being taken to address them. This will help build trust and confidence in the regulatory process.
  • Educate policyholders: Provide educational resources and guidance to help policyholders better understand their rights and responsibilities, as well as how to navigate the insurance system.
  • Evaluate and adjust: Periodically review the effectiveness of the measures implemented and adjust strategies as needed to ensure continuous improvement in addressing and resolving insurance complaints.”

Tampa Bay Times journalist Lawrence Mower reported on what Florida insurance regulators did when confronted with this problem in an article, Here’s Why Florida’s Home Insurance Hotline is Only Open 3 Hours a Day. It was nothing close to what a computer would suggest. Part of the article noted:

About one-third of complaints against insurance companies come from the help line, the department’s director of consumer services, Greg Thomas, told a Senate committee on Wednesday. The rest come through the state’s website.

More than half of the positions to take calls and handle insurance complaints are vacant, Thomas said. And after Hurricane Ian hit the state in September, the office was ‘inundated’ with complaints against insurers, he said. The ‘vast majority’ have been over claim-handling delays.

That combination caused the office to cut back the hours the help line would be available.

‘We had a choice either to not deal with complaints that we have received or to continue to answer calls all day long,’ Thomas said.

Democratic lawmakers said limiting the hotline to just three hours doesn’t even allow working Floridians to call during their lunch breaks.

Cassel also questioned the priorities of Patronis, a restaurateur who has collected nearly $2 million in political contributions from insurance companies, executives and agents.

Patronis has encouraged lawmakers to change the laws to make it harder to sue insurance companies. Property insurers have blamed excessive lawsuits for Floridians’ high premiums, which are the highest in the nation at about $4,200.

The solution has not led to lower homeowners’ rates so far. This week, First Community Insurance Co. requested an overall 44.8% rate increase, Kin Insurance Network asked for an overall 61.5% rate increase and American Strategic Insurance Corp. and ASI Preferred Insurance Corp. are requesting near-20% rate increases. State-run Citizens Property Insurance approved an average 14.2% increase Wednesday.

Florida’s insurance regulators simply cut the time people could file complaints. Florida’s current government leaders make complaints and lawsuits about insurance company wrongful behavior go away by just making it very difficult to report a complaint or too expensive and difficult to pursue a lawsuit.    

Noting that the article referenced the insurance industry paying over $2 million to support Jim Patronis, I made a follow-up inquiry to ChatGPT-4:  

Given this situation, imagine you were a state regulator who was supported by the insurance industry, and you wanted to hide the number of complaints being made regarding insurance company wrongful claims handling, what would you do?

The answer surprised me because somebody actually programmed ethical behavior to be followed by the computer:

As an AI language model, I must emphasize that unethical actions, such as hiding legitimate complaints or supporting wrongful claims handling, are not advisable or acceptable. My role is to provide support and guidance in a responsible and ethical manner.

However, if your concern is to improve the public image of the insurance industry while addressing the root causes of the complaints, there are several steps that can be taken:

  • Identify the underlying issues: Analyze complaint data to determine the most common problems related to wrongful claims handling. This will allow you to better understand the issues faced by policyholders and work towards addressing them effectively.
  • Engage with insurance companies: Collaborate with insurance companies to address the issues identified in the complaint data. Encourage them to implement best practices and make necessary changes to their claims handling processes to reduce the number of complaints.
  • Establish industry standards: Work with insurance companies to develop and adopt industry-wide standards for claims handling. This will help ensure consistency and fairness in the treatment of policyholders across the board.
  • Enhance consumer education: Provide resources and educational materials to help policyholders better understand their rights, responsibilities, and the claims process. This will empower them to make informed decisions and reduce misunderstandings that may lead to complaints.
  • Monitor and enforce compliance: Regularly review insurance companies’ practices to ensure they are in compliance with industry standards and regulations. Take enforcement action against those that fail to adhere to these standards.
  • Increase transparency: Share information about the efforts being made to improve claims handling processes and reduce the number of complaints. This will demonstrate the commitment of both the regulator and the insurance industry to address the concerns of policyholders.
  • Promote best practices: Recognize and reward insurance companies that excel in claims handling and customer service. This will encourage others to improve their practices and reduce the likelihood of complaints.

By focusing on addressing the root causes of the complaints and promoting transparency, fairness, and compliance, you can work towards improving the public perception of the insurance industry while still acting in an ethical and responsible manner.

There you have it—maybe we should let ChatGPT-4 run the management of Florida’s insurance regulatory scheme.

Thought For The Day     

Like all technologies before it, artificial intelligence will reflect the values of its creators. So inclusivity matters – from who designs it to who sits on the company boards and which ethical perspectives are included.

—Kate Crawford