Auto insurance

Groups scrutinize pandemic car insurance premiums and benefits

State insurance officials have said they will seek legislation to require more transparency after auto insurance premium data indicated some companies were using the pandemic to overcharge customers and boost profits.

The Illinois Department of Insurance released data on auto insurance premiums paid by Illinois residents between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2021, as well as claims and losses. The information was submitted in response to a letter from 16 state senators and nine advocacy organizations.

The Chicago-based public interest research group said auto insurers across the country made huge profits in 2020 because people drove fewer miles while sheltering in place and working from home. , “which means fewer vehicle accidents and auto insurance claims.”

An analysis by the Consumer Federation of America determined that insurers earned $42 billion in excess premiums while only reimbursing $13 billion nationwide.

“The moments of crisis are telling: auto insurers have taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the pandemic to overcharge their customers and make windfall profits,” said Abraham Scarr, director of the Public Interest Research Group Illinois. “We thank the Department of Insurance and Governor JB Pritzker for using their authority to obtain this data, and call on the Illinois General Assembly to give the department greater authority to protect Illinois consumers. “

Legislation is being sought that would clarify and strengthen the authority of the Illinois Department of Insurance to review and release certain data and impose fines, penalties, and corrective action when warranted.

“Consumer protection is one of the department’s most important roles, and the proposed legislation would further strengthen our authority to hold insurers accountable for the fair treatment of consumers, whether it’s insurance premiums or practices. claims and billing,” Illinois Department of Insurance director Dana Popish Severinghaus said. “We continue to demand transparency for consumers and we will not allow companies to withhold information to serve their own interests instead of doing what is best for Illinois insurance consumers.”