DCBS Media Release
January 19, 2005
Oregonians encouraged to "Get Smart" about insurance policies
Insurance is one of the biggest expenses for most households, yet few people really understand their policies. This lack of insurance knowledge can be costly, especially when a growing number of "fake insurers" are preying on unsuspecting consumers.
That's why the Oregon Insurance Division and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) are encouraging consumers to review their coverage during the fourth annual Get Smart About Insurance Week, January 24-28.
"Get Smart Week is about making sure your family is properly covered," says Oregon Insurance Administrator Joel Ario. "It's also important to know what to look for so you can avoid falling for phony insurance scams. When it comes to insurance, knowledge is your best policy."
The Insurance Division is a great resource for insurance-related questions and concerns. Oregonians may visit the division's Web site or call toll-free (1-888-877-4894) to request free consumer publications. Also available on the division's Web site is an interactive quiz allowing consumers to test their insurance knowledge.
Recent studies by the NAIC show the majority of Americans just don't know enough about their insurance policies. No more than 33 percent of those polled each year since 2001 could say they understood the details of their policies "very well."
In addition, phony policies are a growing problem in all lines of insurance, especially health care. A federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported 144 fake health insurers sold bogus policies that affected more than 200,000 policyholders between 2000 and 2002, resulting in $252 million in unpaid claims.
Fake insurance is any insurance plan intended to defraud consumers or businesses. It can be attractive because it's typically less expensive than legitimate policies, but it doesn't provide sufficient, if any, coverage.
"Get Smart" tips for consumers
Here are some recommendations from the Oregon Insurance Division:
"Too often people buy an insurance policy and then forget about it," Ario says. "January is a good time to review all of your policies to make sure you have the insurance coverage you need."