HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today announced the Insurance Department reclaimed $185,055,050 for more than 12,000 consumers throughout the state during 2015.
"Consumer protection is a top priority for Governor Wolf and the Insurance Department," said Commissioner Miller. "We will always hold businesses to the highest standards and will continue to work to ensure consumers are afforded all of the rights and protections guaranteed to them by Pennsylvania law."
Commissioner Miller said that throughout 2015, the Insurance Department helped 12,307 consumers around Pennsylvania receive 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;
- Making payment under a multi-state settlement with life insurance companies. Pennsylvania is a leader in an on-going, multi-state examination of life insurance companies that has resulted in companies entering settlement agreements requiring them to reform business practices. Some companies in the industry were making selective use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF), and instead of paying policy benefits upon a policyholder's death, the companies were only terminating payment of annuity benefits. These companies will now properly use the DMF to identify potentially unpaid insurance benefits and locate beneficiaries.
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.
Commissioner Miller 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.
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 at http://www.insurance.pa.gov/.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Ruman, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department