A look at what types of insurance complaints were made to the OCABR
Each year the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs along with representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, the Better Business Bureau and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service gather to announce each agency’s “Top 5” consumer issues of the past year. “The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation empowers consumers by providing information and giving consumers the tools they need to make market-driven decisions,” said Undersecretary John Chapman. “You can only make an informed decision if you have access to the right resources and assistance.”
As in the past few years, the Top consumer issue for 2014 at the OCABR was insurance. Rounding out the rest of the Top 5 were:
- Banking & Non-Depository Licensing
- Cable Services
- Lemon Law/Auto Issues.
Just what type of complaints did the OCABR receive about insurance?
We queried the OCABR to find out more about what types of complaints consumers made to the agency with regards to insurance. According to the agency, both the OCABR and DOI received a total of 12,898 consumer complaints and inquiries last year by telephone and e-mail.
The difference between a complaint and an inquiry is that a formal complaint pertains to cases that were opened in-house in order to resolve an issue involving insurance. An inquiry, on the other hand, involves mere questions or concerns that are addressed by both the OCABR and/or the Division without a formal case being opened. The Division of Insurance only keeps track and categorizes formal complaints.
In 2014, there were a total of 898 formal complaints.
A breakdown of the sub-categories for those 898 complaints follows:
- Auto insurance complaints – 281
- Health insurance complaints – 190
- Homeowners – 102
- Life insurance – 88
- Other – 237
Top 5 complaints by the other agencies present at the press conference
Aside from the OCABR, the only other agency to include insurance as one of its Top 5 complaints was the Better Business Bureau. Paula Fleming of the BBB’s Boston office said that last year the BBB received over 856,208 consumer complaints, and over 156 million inquiries about businesses. Based on that data, the second biggest complaint that the BBB received was about insurance companies. Here is there total Top 5 complaints:
Better Business Bureau
- Insurance Companies
- New Car Dealers
- Business Services
- Collection Agencies
As for the AG’s office and the US Postal Inspection Service, neither had any Top 5 complaints involving insurance. Here is what their Top 5 lists looked like:
Massachusetts Attorney General
- Auto Financing and Sales
- Pre-Paid Cards
- Debt Collection
- Tax Scams
- Data Privacy
US Postal Inspection Service
- Foreign Lottery
- Business Opportunities
- False Billings
- Investment Scams