DOI News

For Immediate Release: Contact:
March 23, 2009 Kristin Milam
Johanna Royo
DOI Helps North Carolinians Recover $10 Million in 2008
2008 Call Center Stats, Trends Released
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today released the 2008 statistics for the Department of Insurance's Consumer Services Division, which handles consumer inquiries and complaints about insurance-related issues. In 2008 the Consumer Services Division handled some 90,000 calls and processed 8,200 written complaints from the public. Through these calls and complaints, the Department was able to help citizens recover $10 million from insurance companies.
"I already knew that our employees in Consumer Services worked hard and stayed busy," said Commissioner Goodwin. "But to see the numbers in front of me and know that they put $10 million back into the wallets of North Carolinians makes me even more proud to be a part of DOI."
The $10 million worth of recoveries stem from complaints filed with the Consumer Services Division. When a person files a formal complaint, the Department contacts the insurance company on the consumer's behalf. The company then has seven days to review the complaint and respond. In many cases, the insurance company realizes a mistake and will settle the dispute directly with the consumer. This sum is on top of the $5.8 million recovered by the Department's Investigations Division during their insurance fraud cases for 2008.
The most common types of insurance involved in the complaints were:
  • Life and health insurance: group health (46%); individual health (24%); and life insurance (22%)
  • Property and casualty insurance: auto (63%) and homeowners (16%)
The most common reasons for filing a complaint were claims-related, including claim denial, claim delay and unsatisfactory settlement (meaning the insurance company didn't pay enough).
"Now more than ever, every dollar counts," said Commissioner Goodwin. "I want the public to know that if they have questions or problems with their insurance companies - for example if their insurance company isn't paying claims in a timely manner - they should call the Department of Insurance. We are here to help."
Anyone with questions about insurance can call the Department's Consumer Services Division at 800-546-5664 to speak with an insurance expert. Information, downloadable publications and links to interactive insurance quizzes and information are available online at the NC-DOI Web site.
-- NCDOI --