October 13, 2011

Missouri Department of Insurance recovers nearly $10 million for consumers in first nine months of 2011

Jefferson City, Mo. - Consumers who filed complaints with the Missouri Department of Insurance have received almost $10 million in additional claims payments from their insurance companies. The department has recovered $9.9 for consumers through the first three quarters of 2011. $2.3 million of those recoveries have been for claims related to the St. Louis, Joplin and Sedalia tornadoes.

Consumers have contacted the department with 988 complaints and inquiries about Joplin tornado claims. Insurance companies serving the Joplin area have paid more than $1 billion in claims, according to data the companies have sent to the Department of Insurance. The department held a Recovery Roundup on Sept. 24 in Joplin to assist consumers with outstanding claims 120 days after the tornado.

"Our recoveries are up $3.4 million over this time last year, which is a reflection of the numerous severe storms of 2011," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "$10 million in nine months is a reminder to consumers that they can have success by contacting our department when they reach an impasse with their insurance companies."

The department received 9,500 written inquiries and complaints - compared to 5,800 at this time last year - and helped more than 15,000 consumers by phone. The most common categories of complaints received from consumers statewide:

By reason

By line of insurance

Denial of claim (879)

Auto (652)

Delay of claim processing (574)

Homeowners (493)

Unsatisfactory offer (408)

Health (432)

Consumers with complaints or questions about their insurance claim or policy provisions can call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or file a complaint at insurance.mo.gov.