6/30/2017 1:16:02 PM
For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that, as part of a continuing investigation, his agency has fined two insurance companies for violating state consumer protection laws by refusing to pay auto accident claims for damage caused by drivers they insured.
“When there’s damage from a crash caused by the other driver, you must be treated fairly by that driver’s insurance company,” said Rothman, whose agency regulates the insurance industry. “Getting hit by another car is a terrible experience, but it gets even worse if the at-fault driver’s insurance company tries to stonewall and deny your claim, which is not acceptable.”
When someone files a damage claim with another driver’s insurer, it is known as a third-party claim.
In recent consent orders with the Commerce Department, American Family Mutual Insurance Company was fined $25,000 and Bristol West Casualty Insurance Company (owned by Farmers Insurance Group) was fined $20,000. The companies are also required to take corrective actions to ensure that claims are handled in compliance with Minnesota consumer protection laws.
The Commerce Department investigation found significant compliance concerns with 41 of American Family’s third-party claims in 2014-2016 and seven of Bristol West’s third-party claims in 2015-2016. After the Commerce Department intervened, the companies re-opened and re-adjusted the claims.
Under Minnesota law, an insurer or adjuster is not allowed to deny a liability claim because its insured driver has not cooperated, unless an independent evaluation of available evidence indicates there is no liability.
Rothman offers the following tips for Minnesotans after an auto accident occurs:
Commerce is here to help.
If you have a question or concern about your insurance, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
P: 651-539-1463 | C: 651-368-5050 | email@example.com