New York State

Insurance

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RELEASE

Contact:
Public Affairs
(212) 480-5262
www.ins.state.ny.us

James J. Wrynn    Superintendent of Insurance    25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 2/24/2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONSUMER COMPLAINTS LEAD TO RECOVERY OF $32.3 MILLION AND OTHER ACTIONS CORRECTING INSURANCE COMPANY PRACTICES

Gov. Paterson Applauds Consumers Who Helped Themselves and Others Across State

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that consumers recouped $32.3 million as the result of action taken by the New York State Insurance Department in 2009. The Governor praised consumers whose complaints about insurance company practices led to the monetary recoveries and other actions – some benefiting hundreds of other consumers.

A Rochester woman victimized after buying health insurance from a telemarketer who inflated the value of the policy, a Watertown area woman whose homeowners’ insurance was improperly cancelled, and a New York City widow who had to fight a life insurance company for her late husband’s $30,000 death benefit were among the cases.

“Consumer protection is one of the Insurance Department’s key missions and New York State government is committed to making certain that insurance companies fulfill their obligations to consumers,” Governor Paterson said.

“Consumer complaints led to monetary recoveries for 7,780 people across the state, but that’s not the whole story. There are many things the Insurance Department does in addition to getting cash back for consumers. The Department often helps consumers restore insurance coverage that was improperly cancelled,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

“Sometimes the telephone call of a single consumer results in a wider examination of insurance company practices affecting many other consumers. For example, a Suffolk County property owner’s complaint about the cancellation of his homeowners’ policy resulted in the Department directing an insurance company to offer to reinstate his policy, as well as the policies of another 561 people who were improperly denied coverage because they were not given timely notice,” Wrynn said.

The Insurance Department investigates approximately 60,000 complaints a year. Among the significant consumer issues addressed last year:

Consumers with questions about their insurance policies should first contact their insurance company, agent or broker. If they are unable to resolve disputes, consumers are urged to contact the Department’s Consumer Services Bureau by accessing the Department’s website, www.ins.state.ny.us. The Department staffs a consumer hotline at 1-800-342-3736 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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