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Eric R. Dinallo   Superintendent of Insurance  25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 10/06/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2008 AUTO INSURER COMPLAINT RANKING RELEASED

The New York State Insurance Department upheld 993 consumer complaints against private passenger automobile insurance companies last year, according to the Department’s 2008 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints released today.

“The ranking is a valuable tool consumers can use to evaluate the performance of their insurance company. They can also use this information to check the performance of other companies if they are shopping for auto insurance. Indeed, the market is competitive and it is always a good time to compare prices,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

The auto ranking is designed to give consumers a yardstick that measures the number of complaints against an individual company as a percentage of that company’s total auto insurance business.

The ranking shows that 6,301 complaints were filed in 2007 against auto insurance companies or groups of companies. Besides the 993 complaints upheld in favor of consumers, 3,563 complaints were withdrawn or not upheld, and 1,745 were ruled as “question of fact” cases.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 numbers indicate that the State upheld one consumer complaint for every $9.8 million in premiums paid, based on the total of approximately $10 billion that New Yorkers spent for car insurance.

Other highlights of the report:

The 2008 ranking is compiled using premium data from 2006 and 2007. 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 monetary disputes, such as the value of a total loss, or complaints about insurance companies that do not renew policies.

The ranking is posted at the following location on the Department’s website, http://www.ins.state.ny.us/auto/2008/auto2008.pdf. The report is also available by calling the Department toll-free at 1-800-342-3736. In addition, the Insurance Department’s Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance, which offers premium comparisons and other useful information, is also available. The Guide is presented in two versions, one for upstate consumers and the second for downstate consumers.

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