Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Free help with insurance complaints, questions and problems

We offer free insurance help to Washington state residents. (We won't try to sell you anything; we're the state agency that regulates the insurance industry.)

You can call us at 1-800-562-6900 or e-mail AskMike@oic.wa.gov. We have staff insurance experts who can answer questions or help you file a complaint about an insurance company or agent.

In many cases, you can even track the status of a complaint online, seeing what we send to the company, their response, etc.

(Not a Washingtonian? Contact your state's insurance regulator.)

Here are some real-life examples of the sorts of cases we've handled recently:

-A business owner near Yakima was hosting a business event, but couldn't get a copy of her insurance certificate from her company. With time running out, she had to buy additional coverage to make sure she was covered. She complained to us, and we got the company to refund the cost of the extra coverage.

-An insurer offered $1,695 for a totalled vehicle. We helped get the consumer $3,250 -- plus tax, title and license fees.

-When a Puget Sound man's trip was delayed, boosting his costs more than $7,000, his travel insurance company paid him $3,266. We got them to boost that by an additional $4,035.

-We helped speed up payment on a delayed claim for a mobile home fire. The amount: $74,362.