January 26, 2017
Missouri Insurance Department Returns Record-Setting $29 Million to Consumers in 2016
Missouri consumers and small businesses benefit from Department’s regulatory efforts
Jefferson City, Mo. – Because of the work of the department’s Consumer Affairs Division and Market Conduct Section, Missouri consumers and small businesses received an additional $29 million from their insurance companies in 2016, exceeding the department’s previous record of $27.4 million set in 2014.
“Whether it’s for themselves or for their business, the purchase of insurance for most Missourians is not a choice, it’s a necessity,” said Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff. “The Department is here to ensure consumers are treated fairly by their insurance company and to maintain a level playing field for all insurance companies to ensure our markets are competitive.”
The monies were returned as a result of the Consumer Affairs Division’s mediation work on complaints filed by consumers as well as the efforts of the Market Conduct Section that examines insurance company operations and practices to ensure compliance with Missouri insurance law.
In 2016, the Consumer Affairs Division, which was established by the Missouri Constitution, handled approximately 37,000 consumer contacts and received 3,908 formal complaints. Health complaints were the largest portion of the complaints with 1,371. Those included complaints like an insurance company that had denied coverage for a medication to treat a chronic condition. The insurance company argued that a different medication should be prescribed, but that drug interfered with the consumer’s other prescribed medications. Because of the division’s intervention, the company conducted an additional review. The company overturned their original denial and provided coverage for the preferred drug, which resulted in a $74,797 recovery for the consumer.
The Department’s market conduct section had a number of actions focused on workers’ compensation insurance in 2016. Market Conduct found many instances where employers were overcharged for workers’ compensation insurance by insurance companies failing to give premium credits to employers that were owed and through the use of incorrect classification codes and experience modification factors.
A comprehensive list of enforcement and market conduct actions taken by the department is available on the department's website. Consumers with complaints or questions about their insurance agent or company can call the department's Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.
About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.