DCBS Media Release
January 14, 2003
Oregonians urged to "get smart" about insurance
SALEM — Although two-thirds of Americans feel they have about the right amount of insurance, only one-third say they understand their coverage "very well," according to a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
When it comes to insurance, knowledge is your best policy. That's why the Oregon Insurance Division and the NAIC are encouraging consumers to review their coverage during the second annual Get Smart About Insurance Week, Jan. 20–24.
"Get Smart Week is about making sure your family is properly covered," says Oregon Insurance Administrator Joel Ario. "The Insurance Division is your best resource for insurance-related questions and concerns."
Oregon residents may visit the Insurance Division's Web site (oregoninsurance.org) or contact the division to request free consumer publications. Also available on the division's Web site is an interactive quiz allowing consumers to test their insurance knowledge.
"Last year's Get Smart Week raised awareness among consumers," Ario says. "The 34 percent of Americans who understand their policy very well represents an increase of six percentage points from last year's survey."
Survey finds peace of mind, but insurance gaps
To gauge Americans' understanding and perceptions of their insurance coverage, the NAIC, a voluntary association of state insurance regulators, commissioned a telephone survey of 1,025 adults last summer. Respondents were asked a range of questions based on the various types of insurance coverage they may have.
The youngest adults (age 18 to 24) are the least likely to understand the details of their insurance "very well" (15 percent), while understanding increases among the most-experienced consumers (age 65+) to 50 percent.
"We're glad to see understanding is on the rise," Ario says. "However, it's still troubling that while two-thirds of adults feel they have the right amount of insurance, only one-third fully understand what they have."
Just over one-fifth of respondents recognized they have too little insurance (22 percent). This number jumps to 33 percent in households with less than $15,000 income. It drops to 18 percent in households with incomes of $50,000 or more. Persons age 65 and older are most likely to feel they have the right amount of coverage (81 percent).
Nine out of ten people surveyed who have insurance agreed with the statement "A primary benefit I get from having insurance is peace of mind." However, the number who strongly agreed with that statement dropped to 56 percent from 66 percent in 2001.
"It appears peace of mind may be harder to come by in the post-September 11 environment," Ario says.
How consumers can “get smart about insurance”
Here are some recommendations from the Oregon Insurance Division:
"The Oregon Insurance Division is a terrific source of unbiased information," Ario adds. "You may not have the coverage you need. You may have more than you need. You may feel you've been treated unfairly by an insurer or agent, or you may just want help understanding how different kinds of insurance work. No matter what your situation is, we're here to help you get smart about insurance."