Kreidler hosting workshop to address historic increase in auto insurance complaints


Washington state residents have been filing complaints about their auto and homeowners insurance issues at a record pace, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said he’s hosting a workshop next month to hear from consumers, insurers and other parties on the reasons for the increase.

Among the complaints: Claims denied without a suitable explanation. Frustrating delays in hearing back from insurance companies. Initial app-based repair estimates coming in thousands of dollars below the final cost.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has reported a historic volume of complaints since 2021. The OIC’s Consumer Advocacy Program received 467 complaints in April 2023, up from the historic average of 287 a month — a 63% increase.

“Most of the time, the claims process works as intended when insureds and claimants alike are made whole,” Kreidler said. “But when there are disputes, the industry needs to step up and do more to help resolve them in a timely, accurate manner.”

Complaints involving auto insurance are responsible for most of the rise, with the majority of the auto insurance complaints revolving around how (and how fast) claims are handled. Auto insurance complaints jumped from 2,216 in 2020 to 3,045 in 2021 and 3,276 last year — a 48% increase over a two-year period.

As of May 15, 2023, claim handling issues are cited in more than 80% of complaints — a record figure.

Kreidler’s office will host a virtual workshop on July 17 to gather information from the insurance industry, the auto repair and restoration contractor industry, claim experts, and consumers to determine how the OIC will address the issue.

Further details and an agenda will be announced a week before the event and will include information on how to testify. The meeting will be open to the public and held virtually, via Zoom, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A video of the workshop will be posted online later that month.


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