Poolman Announces $1.96 Million Recovery for ND Consumers in 2003
Posted on 1/15/2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Poolman
January 15, 2004
Bismarck, ND - North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman announced today that the North Dakota Insurance Department assisted North Dakota consumers in recovering $1.9 Million in refunds and benefits in 2003. The figure includes dollars recovered through the Department's Complaint Hotline, consumer complaints against agents and companies, and investigations. "We take our job of consumer protection seriously," Poolman said. "This is almost two million dollars that was rightfully put back in the pockets of North Dakota policyholders," he added.
In all, the Department received and made around 7,000 calls on behalf of consumers regarding various insurance issues. These inquiries resulted in 366 formal complaints against companies and agents. By volume, most complaints involve disputes over fault in automobile accidents, coverage disputes on health insurance claims, and settlement amounts on homeowners' insurance claims. Complaints against agents most often involve allegations the agent misrepresented the costs and benefits of the life insurance products they sold.
In 2002, the Insurance Department handled approximately 13,000 calls, 429 formal complaints, and recovered $2.3 Million.
"In previous years, there were significantly more weather-related claims across the state, which tend to result in more disputes between companies and consumers," Poolman said. "The 2003 figure is most impressive when considering the smaller volume of consumer disputes. Regardless, over the past two years $4.26 million recovered for North Dakota consumers is an impressive figure and very exciting," Poolman added.
Poolman encourages any consumers with insurance questions or complaints to call the Insurance Department's Hotline at 1.800.247.0560. North Dakota consumers can also get information and contact the Insurance Department through their website: http://www.state.nd.us/ndins/.