DCBS Media Release
January 13, 1997
Complaint report can help consumers pick the right insurance company
(Salem) What's at stake when Oregonians buy insurance? More than seven billion dollars. That's how much in premiums the 1,600 insurance companies doing business in Oregon collected last year. And that's why the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) produces an annual report called Oregon Insurance Complaints to help state residents evaluate insurance providers before they buy coverage.
This year's redesigned edition of the report is now available, both in print and on the department's World Wide Web site.
Oregon Insurance Complaintsranks insurance companies operating in the state, based on the number of complaints consumers make to the DCBS Insurance Division about each company. The report covers five lines of insurance: accident and health, managed care, auto, homeowners, and life.
"People need to understand what they're getting for their money when they purchase insurance," said Marcia Martin, insurance consumer advocate at DCBS. "But it can be difficult to become an informed consumer in a market with so many choices. We produce Oregon Insurance Complaints as a tool to help consumers select an insurance company that will meet their needs."
Rankings in the report are based on two measurements: The total dollars a company earns from its Oregon policyholders, and the number of complaints that were filed against the company with the Insurance Division. The report reflects complaints closed in 1995 -- the most recent data available.
"A smart shopper looks not only at an insurance company's premiums and financial strength, but also at how it treats its policyholders," Martin said. "Complaint statistics are a way to measure an insurance company against its competitors in consumer satisfaction."
Martin notes that insurance consumers should evaluate several factors before choosing an insurance company. The company's financial standing, premiums, agent service, claims process, and coverage limits are all important considerations.
Oregon Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director Kerry Barnett encourages consumers to contact the Insurance Division's consumer protection section at 503-947-7984, if they have difficulty with an insurance company or believe they may have been treated unfairly. "We are here to serve the public, and we can often intervene in a positive way on behalf of insurance consumers," Barnett said.
To request a copy of the printed report, write: Complaint Report, DCBS Insurance Division, 350 Winter Street NE, Room 470, Salem, OR 97301-3883, or call the division at 503-947-7980.