The Missouri Department of Insurance has released its annual report for the year of 2011.
The report notes that the state experienced many “firsts” in the U.S. insurance industry last year, many of which were brought about by calamitous natural disasters. These firsts included record breaking numbers of claims, the highest claims payouts in U.S history, and the largest amounts of claims funds recovered by Missouri insurance regulators. The Department of Insurance notes that, despite massive challenges, it was able to complete its mission of protecting Missouri residents throughout 2011.
The report made special note of the May 22, 2011 tornado that devastated the city of Joplin.
The tornado caused extensive damage to homes and businesses throughout the city, translating into serious insured losses for the U.S. insurance industry. According to the report, the disaster spurred insurers to pay close to $2 billion in claims. The Joplin tornado disaster is the worst disaster, in terms of insurance, in Missouri’s history. The state is still working to recover from the event, as well as other natural disasters it has fallen victim to in the past year.
According to the report, state regulators recovered more than $19 million in insurance claims…
payments from companies that were targeted by consumer complaints. In the wake of the natural disasters that occurred in the state, consumers were often left unhappy with the service of their insurance providers. This drop in satisfaction as documented by the Department of Insurance and regulators began investigating the matter. The report notes than the department received 12,460 complaints last year, up from 7,692 complaints in 2010.
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The report also brings to new legislations into the limelight: Senate Bills 101 and 132. SB 101 is meant to provide additional protection to residents from dubious repair contractors. The bill bans contractors from offering to pay the insurance deductible for homeowners as a way to secure their job. SB 132 stops municipal governments within Missouri from restricting the activities of insurance companies as they attempt to provide assistance to victims of natural disasters. These two legislations are expected to bring major benefits for consumers that have suffered most from last year’s disasters.
Article: Missouri Department of Insurance releases report concerning 2011 natural disasters
Article Source: Live Insurance News – The Missouri Department of Insurance report can be found at the agency’s website here
Author: Alicia Williams