You have the right to receive prompt, courteous, professional assistance and should be spoken to in a way that is easily understood. Communications should be clear and you should have a way to file complaints. You should expect that all phone calls, emails and other communications are responded to in a timely and professional manager.
How do I know if I’m receiving quality service?
Does your advisor and financial services company provide annual summaries (statements), and do they offer a way to review it with you? The following items should appear in an annual review of any financial product. If you don’t receive these items, ask for them.
- The company’s current name and contact information (any changes should be noted)
- Your account or policy number (if it has changed, this should be noted)
- Product type
- The type of coverage
- Values affiliated with the product
- Product performance
- Fee and costs
- Applied and available discounts
- Product termination date
- Surrender charges and periods
- The cash value and other account values (if applicable)
- Beneficiary and ownership designations (if applicable)
- Other policy changes
- Hypothetical projections where applicable such as in-force illustrations on life insurance policies to ensure that the policy is performing as expected
- An insurance company’s financial strength rating
- Any material changes to the product
How do I know if my insurance claims are being handled fairly?
File a claim as soon as possible after an insured event occurs. A claim is a request for payment of a loss covered under your insurance policy. Make sure that you include as much documentation as possible by making a log, taking a photo, or anything else that will help you.
Keep in mind that insurance companies require you to mitigate your damages; in other words, you must take reasonable care to prevent further damage, such as turning off the power and gas if you can’t stay in your home. Be sure to continue to pay your premiums while your claim is being processed.
This is a summary of your rights when you file an insurance claim:
- You have the right to the prompt and fair handling of claims.
- You also have the right to be treated fairly and honestly when you make a claim.
- You have the right to ask about any payments made to others by your company and charged to your policy.
- If you file a claim with your company, it should be handled promptly and fairly.
- If your claim is denied, the company must provide you with a written explanation for the denial.
- You have the right to reject any settlement offer including any unfair valuation, offered by the Insurance Company.
- If you reject a settlement offer, your options include continuing to negotiate with the insurer or pursuing legal remedies such as mediation or filing a lawsuit.
- You have the right to not provide information that is not required to process your claim.
What if I have a complaint?
How a complaint is filed will depend on the type of financial product. You can file a complaint with your state insurance department. With a variable insurance product, you may wish to file your complaint with FINRA or the SEC. More information and links on filing a complaint coming soon.
Blog posts, articles & media (click to view):
Compensation Conundrum - Best's Review - August 2001
Informative Links and services: