The New York State Insurance Department upheld 948 consumer complaints against private passenger automobile insurance companies last year, according to the department’s 2009 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints.
The auto ranking shows the number of complaints against an individual company as a percentage of that company’s total auto insurance business.
The ranking shows that 7,237 complaints were filed in 2008 against auto insurance companies or groups of companies. Besides the 948 complaints upheld in favor of consumers, 4,316 complaints were withdrawn or not upheld, and 1,973 were ruled as "question of fact" cases. Question of fact disputes are not counted against insurers because the department cannot legally determine the facts of these cases.
The offenders with the most complaints in relation to premium dollars were: Long Island Insurance Company (78 upheld complaints with $6.9 million in premiums), Countrywide Insurance Company (22 upheld with $62.9 million in premiums), White Mountains Group (68 upheld with $222 million in premiums) and Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company (13 upheld with $18.5 million in premiums).
Among the state’s largest insurers in terms of market share those with total premiums of $1 billion or more State Farm had the fewest upheld complaints with 44.
Seven insurers had no upheld complaints: Amica Mutual Group, Main Street America Group, QBE Insurance Group Ltd., American Express Groups, Balboa Life & Casualty Group, Electric Insurance Group and Eveready Insurance Company.
The State upheld one consumer complaint for every $9.7 million in premiums paid, based on the total of approximately $10 billion that New Yorkers spent for car insurance.
The 2009 ranking is compiled using premium data from 2007 and 2008. Premium data from two years are analyzed to compensate for the fact that some complaints closed in any given year are begun in the previous year.
Typical consumer complaints involve delays in the payment of no-fault claims and complaints about insurance companies that do not renew policies.
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