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Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills today announced that CIGNA Healthcare of New York, Inc. (CIGNA) has paid the Insurance Department a $150,000 fine for neglecting consumer complaints for a prolonged period of time, which is a violation of the law. In addition to paying the fine, CIGNA pledged to take steps that would prevent the recurrence of the customer service violations which initially prompted the Insurance Department’s action.

"The monetary penalty we levied against CIGNA is another demonstration of the Insurance Department’s commitment to fighting on behalf of New York’s health care consumers," said Superintendent Mills. "We will not allow a company to drag its feet to the detriment of its customers."

Under New York State Law, insurers and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) have 15 business days in which to respond to consumer complaints sent to them via the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau (CSB), a statutory deadline CIGNA repeatedly failed to meet.

The Insurance Department alleged, and CIGNA agreed as part of the stipulation, that CIGNA provided neither timely nor substantive responses to the written customer complaints that were referred to CIGNA via the Insurance Department’s CSB. The Department sends hundreds of pieces of correspondence each year to CIGNA’s Customer Advocacy Unit for either a response or action on CIGNA’s part.

"We insist that the insurers and HMOs regulated by the Department are responsive to customer complaints and we’ll continue to monitor this situation on behalf of CIGNA’s policyholders," Superintendent Mills stated.


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