HARRISBURG, PA — Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman announced the Insurance Department reclaimed more than $69 million in 2019 for more than 24,000 consumers who had funds stolen, payments improperly processed or other forms of restitution or credit due to them from unscrupulous companies.
“Ensuring consumers are afforded all of the rights and protections guaranteed to them by Pennsylvania law is what we work for,” said Altman. “The department works diligently to protect consumers and hold businesses to the highest standards.”
The Insurance Department is charged with upholding fair business practice standards for consumers, companies, and insurance professionals to ensure that consumers in Pennsylvania receive all protections to which they are entitled under the state’s laws and regulations. This work involves researching and resolving complaints from consumers, investigating allegations of misconduct from insurance companies, agents, brokers, and others, and ensuring that practicing professionals are properly licensed.
During 2019, approximately 24,000 consumers around Pennsylvania received some form of restitution payment or credit. Below are some examples:
- Restoration of stolen funds when an agent collected payment from a consumer for a policy or annuity but did not send the money to the insurance company;
- Processing and payment of previously denied or underpaid claims when a company did not pay a claim as it should under the consumer’s policy;
- Refunding of overcharged premiums when an insurance company was found to be charging premiums above the rate that had been approved by the Insurance Department;
The Insurance Department helped provide more than $33 million in benefits to more than 1,600 Pennsylvanians last year through participation in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Policy Locator Service. Established in 2016, this service helps consumers locate lost life insurance policies and annuity contracts of deceased loved ones.
Also, during 2019 the department completed an ACA exam of United Healthcare Insurance Company. The completed exam found multiple areas of non-compliance with the ACA and PA law which to date has resulted in close to $300,000 in consumer restitution stemming from the underpayment of certain claims and the levying of a one-million-dollar penalty.
Altman also noted that in some cases, the department’s findings can result in additional penalties, such as a suspension or revocation of a license, being assessed against the offending party. For example, licensees were assessed approximately $2.3 million in penalties due to examinations and investigations, which revealed violations of Pennsylvania’s insurance laws.
If you have a question about your insurance or need to file a complaint, you may contact the Insurance Department’s Bureau of Consumer Services at 1-877-881-6388 or online.
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