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The office of the State Insurance Commissioner is charged with overseeing the business of insurance in Washington. The agency plays an important consumer watchdog role in making sure Washington citizens don’t get fleeced or treated unfairly by an insurance company. Complaints to the agency are investigated and sometimes action is taken against an insurance company to force them to pay what they should have in the first place. The Insurance Commissioner’s office received over 5,000 citizen complaints against insurance companies in 2008. The agency recovered more than 10.5 million dollars for Washington consumers as a result. A recent news release from the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office detailed the top three reasons consumers file complaints against auto insurance companies. The three were – unsatisfactory settlement offers, claim denials and unnecessary delays. Low settlement offers topped the list by a wide margin. The largest number involved auto insurance companies. In fact, auto insurance companies generated more complaints than health and homeowners insurance combined. Consumers in Washington often have a lot of dissatisfaction after dealing with an insurance company. People who are having problems with their insurance company can call an Insurance Commissioner Hotline at 1-800-562-6900. They can also file complaints online at http://www.insurance.gov/. The news release contained a quote from Washington’s elected Insurance Commissioner Ron Kreidler, “Consumer protection is my top priority. Whether you need us to investigate a complaint, act as a mediator, explain your rights or just answer a question, my office is here to help.”


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