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ISSUED 1/2/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2007 AUTO INSURER COMPLAINT RANKING RELEASED

The New York State Insurance Department released its 2007 Annual Ranking of Automobile Insurance Complaints, which measures the number of complaints filed against insurance companies as a percentage of their total private passenger auto insurance.

“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 currently quite competitive and right now might be a good time to price compare,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric R. Dinallo.

The 2007 ranking is compiled using data from 2005 and 2006. Data from two years are analyzed. This compensates 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 insurance companies that do not renew policies.

The 2007 ranking shows that 7,914 complaints were filed against auto insurance companies or groups of companies in the state. Of that number, 1,629 complaints were upheld in favor of consumers; 4,243 complaints were not upheld; and 2,042 complaints were ruled as “question of fact” cases. Questions of fact disputes are not counted against insurers because the Department cannot legally determine the facts of these cases.

New Yorkers spent more than $10 billion on private automobile insurance in 2006. The report shows that one upheld complaint was recorded for every $6.2 million in premiums paid to insurance companies.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Three insurers had no upheld complaints. They are American Modern Insurance Group, Atlantic Companies and Electric Insurance Group.
  • Among the state’s largest insurers in terms of market share, the Metropolitan Group was one of the top 10 insurers with the fewest upheld complaints.
  • Long Island Insurance Company, Infinity Property & Casualty Insurance Group and American International Group were the three insurers with the most upheld complaints in relation to their premiums.

The 2007 ranking is posted on the Department’s Web site at: http://www.ins.state.ny.us/auto/2007/ark2007.pdf. The report is also available by calling the Department toll-free at 1-800-342-3736. In addition, the Insurance Department’s 2007 Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance, which offers price comparisons, is also available on the Web site or by calling the Department. The Guide is available in two versions, one for upstate consumers and the second for downstate consumers.

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