These are the top auto insurance complaints, says California Deputy Commissioner

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The DOI’s Tony Cignarale recently discussed the leading issues filed about coverage or insurers.

The California Department of Insurance (DOI) Deputy Commissioner Tony Cignarale recently spoke about the most common auto insurance complaints handled by his department.

The discussion also announced a special session in which repair shops could file complaints.

The special session for auto insurance complaints was held at a Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) open board meeting. It was held in Palm Springs, California ahead of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC).

Auto insurance coverage - Hands around car - complaints

Cignarale is the Consumer Services and Market Conduct Branch deputy commissioner and his department received 50,000 written complaints and 200,000 phone complaints from consumers and auto repair companies last year. According to the deputy commissioner, around 42 percent of the complaints were specific to car policies and coverage from consumers and repair companies.

“We consider body shop consumers or any small business that has issues,” said Cignarale, who oversees the consumer call center at the DOI and helps in market conduct tasks. He is also the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Task Force co-chair at the DOI, monitoring claims settlement practices and putting into effect changes to regulations when required.

About 90 percent of the auto insurance complaints filed were from consumers.

The remaining 10 percent of the complaints were filed by auto repair companies.

“We do get some tension with regard to some of the outcomes because we’re not a judge or a jury,” said Cignarale. “We don’t say, ‘OK, there’s three hours for this operation. You want five and they said two. We’re going to split it in the middle and say three.’ We don’t have the authority to do that.”

The five most common complaints made related to car coverage were:

  • Towing and storage
  •  Labor rates
  • Estimated standard operation times
  •  Steering
  •  Paint estimates

Cignarale also discussed auto insurance complaints having to do with bill deductions, inspections, insurance penalties, sublet repairs, rate increases, policy differences, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), and how to work with other coverage departments. Each of these subjects were discussed in detail at which time Cignarale also provided tips for those affected.

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