While most people view their state’s department of insurance as the government agency tasked with everything from licensing and regulating insurers to addressing complaints and controlling rates, it’s important to understand that they also exist to educate consumers about this sometimes arcane topic, enabling them to make informed decisions about their policy coverage.
Questions naturally arise then as to just how good of a job state insurance departments are doing in relaying this important information to consumers, particularly online. Interestingly enough, the financial news website NerdWallet recently released a study ranking the 50 states and the District of Columbia on their websites according to which were the most useful for residents and which were woefully inadequate in this regard.
As part of the study, the researchers gave the 51 insurance departments scores based on their performance in four categories: insurance rate comparisons, complaint data, consumer assistance, and consumer education and resources.
How did Florida fare?
At the outset, it’s important to understand that insurance oversight here in the Sunshine State is essentially divided between two agencies, the Office of Insurance Regulation and the Department of Financial Services. Here, the former regulates the insurance industry, while the latter oversees consumer assistance and complaints.
Overall, Florida came in as having the 13th best state insurance department website, tied with Washington. While the state’s websites earned high marks for maintaining current premium data and complaints in the areas of homeowners and auto insurance, it was ultimately brought down to a certain degree by the dearth of information on complaints in the areas of life and health insurance, and the difficulty of finding certain online features.
As for the states with the best insurance websites, these included Texas (1), Kansas (2), Colorado (3), Maryland (4) and Utah (5). Conversely, those with the lowest scores included New Mexico (51), Tennessee (49), Iowa (49), Mississippi (48), and Rhode Island (47).
It’s encouraging to see that our state did fairly well in these rankings, such that consumers have a reliable place to go for information. It will be interesting to see if any steps are taken to address the few criticisms.
If you have questions or concerns relating to any insurance law matter, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions.Share