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State consumer division recovers $4M in insurance violations

HARTFORD — Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade announced Monday that the Connecticut Insurance Department recovered $4 million for Connecticut consumers and taxpayers in the first half of 2017.

“The Department stands ready to help and advise consumers with any insurance concern and we do exactly that for thousands of our citizens each year,” Wade said in a statement. “Whether it’s navigating a claims process, finding a lost life insurance policy or gaining a better understanding of your policy coverages, we encourage you to contact the Department.”

Wadehighlighted one of the many instances in the last six months in which the Department went to bat for consumers: When an insurance company failed to comply with Connecticut’s new law mandating coverage for hearing aids, the Insurance Department intervened and helped return more $580,000 that was rightfully owed to policyholders.

The Department’s Consumer Affairs Unit handled more than 3,800 complaints and inquiries and helped policyholders recoup nearly $2.7 million from January 1 to June 30, 2017. During that same period the Department’s Market Conduct division levied approximately $1.3 million in fines against carriers and returned that money to the state’s General Fund. The fines resulted from a variety of violations and settlements ranging from untimely claim payments to improper licensing.

The majority of the funds recovered for policyholders stemmed from complaints over health, accident, homeowners and life and annuities policies. The following is the breakdown of funds recovered in 2016:

  • Accident, Health – $1.9 million
  • Auto – $270,000
  • General Liability – $48,000
  • Homeowners and Commercial Property – $220,000
  • Life, Annuities – $202,000
  • Miscellaneous – $13,000

The Department also has launched a Life Insurance Policy Locator in December 2016 and since then more than 60 consumers have used this free online tool to recover nearly $300,000 owed to them in benefits from old life insurance and annuity policies.

The Department calculates its consumer recoveries based on what the policyholder received as a result of the Department’s intervention. The inquiries and complaints also help the Department identify industry trends that may adversely affect consumers and trigger investigation by the Market Conduct division.

Complaint data also help determine topics for consumer education and serve as tools to help the Department monitor the industry. The Market Conduct enforcement actions are posted here.