Nearly 82,000 Minnesota consumers who purchased travel insurance on Travelocity.com between June 1, 2009 and January 24, 2012 are eligible for a refund for the full cost of the premium (between $19.95 and $44.95 per traveler).
An enforcement action announced by Commissioner Mike Rothman on February 14, 2012 described allegations that National Union Fire Insurance Company (NUFIC) and Travel Guard Group, Inc. violated state law by automatically enrolling consumers in travel insurance without their express affirmative consent. At the order of Commissioner Rothman, NUFIC and Travel Guard have agreed to refund consumers and pay a $250,000 civil penalty to the State of Minnesota.
Learn more about the enforcement action below, including whether you are eligible for a refund, how to retrieve a refund, and who to contact with similar complaints.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced that 81,970 Minnesota consumers who purchased travel insurance on Travelocity.com between June 1, 2009 and January 24, 2012 will receive nearly $2.5 million in refunds.
A consent order issued by Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman last Friday alleges that New York-based National Union Fire Insurance Company (NUFIC) of Pittsburgh and Wisconsin-based Travel Guard Group, Inc. violated state law by automatically enrolling consumers in optional travel insurance policies. The order also requires NUFIC to pay the State of Minnesota a $250,000 civil penalty for alleged market misconduct.
The Department alleges that prior to January 25, 2012, consumers who booked a flight on Travelocity.com were automatically enrolled in travel insurance policies without making an affirmative selection to enroll in the plan. To decline coverage, a consumer was required to affirmatively make a selection to “opt-out” of the plan. The cost of the plan, which ranged between $24.95 and $44.95 per traveler, was automatically included in the total purchase price unless a consumer chose the opt-out selection.
By not receiving affirmative consent from consumers – either oral or written – the Department alleges that NUFIC and Travel Guard engaged in “an unfair method of competition and deceptive practices in the business of insurance in violation of MS 72A.20, subd. 18(b) (2010) and Minn. R. 2700.3200, subp. 2 (2011).
You may also contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Help Line by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (651) 539-1700 or (800) 657-3602 with any questions.
This action only pertains to travel insurance sold and purchased on Travelocity.com and websites powered by Travelocity.com. Any Minnesota consumer who thinks they may have inadvertently purchased travel insurance on another website or from another insurer is encouraged to issue a formal complaint by contacting the Minnesota Department of Commerce Consumer Help Line by phone at (651) 539-1700 or (800) 657-3602 or by email at email@example.com.