Jan. 31--The state Insurance Department recovered $8.7 million from insurance companies last year by pursuing complaints from consumers and levying fines, the agency said Thursday.
Policyholders recouped almost $4.1 million through the more than 6,100 complaints they filed with the department's market conduct division in 2012, the department said.
On the regulatory side, the department's market conduct division received about $4.6 million through fines levied against companies for violations like late payments and improper licensing. Those fines were deposited in the state's General Fund.
Commissioner Thomas B. Leonardi said in a statement that the department "is here to help consumers fight wrongful claims denials, unjustified costs or policy cancellations and other issues that affect everyone's bottom line."
"Household budgets are under enormous stress and every dollar matters," Leonardi said. "Carriers must adhere to state insurance law and when they don't the department can and does step in to help, recovering money that rightfully belongs to the policyholder while holding insurance companies accountable."
The majority of the funds recovered to policyholders were from accident or health insurance claims, amounting to $2.1 million of the about $4.1 million. Other claims categories include: auto at $407,000; fire and commercial at $409,000; general liability at $76,000; homeowners and farmers at $790,000; life and annuities at $241,000; and miscellaneous categories at $62,000.
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