OLYMPIA, Wash. â€“ The top three reasons consumers filed formal complaints against their insurance companies in 2008 were unsatisfactory settlement offers, claims denials, and delays, according to Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. And auto insurance was the most frequent topic of dissatisfaction.
â€śPeople frequently disagree with their insurers about what their car is worth, particularly if it is totaled in an accident,â€ť said Kreidler. â€śIf they canâ€™t reach an agreement, weâ€™ll step in to make sure the consumer is treated fairly.â€ť
The Insurance Commissionerâ€™s Office received 5,341 formal complaints last year. Below is a breakout of the top three by reason and by type of coverage.
Top reasons for complaints in 2008
Denial of claim
Top complaints by type of coverage in 2008
Type of coverage
Accident and health
People who are having problems with their insurance can call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900 for help. They also can file complaints online at www.insurance.wa.gov.
â€śConsumer protection is my top priority,â€ť said Kreidler. â€śWhether you need us to investigate a complaint, act as a mediator, explain your rights or just answer a question, my office is here to help.â€ťÂ
The office investigates consumer problems regarding canceledÂ coverageÂ or with claims that have been denied or delayed.Â
"We also are an excellent resource for information on health insurance options," Kreidler added.
The Insurance Commissionerâ€™s Office recovered more than $10.5 million for consumers in 2008.