Rare, but suitable tender for paying market conduct fines in CT

Connecticut Department of Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi announced today that the Connecticut Insurance Department recovered $2.4 million for policyholders and state taxpayers in the second quarter of 2012.

More than half of that is in fines: The state’s market conduct division levied more than $1.5 million in fines against carriers and returned that money to the state general fund. The fines resulted from a variety of violations and settlements ranging from untimely claim payments to improper licensing.

The Department’s consumer affairs unit (CAU) fielded about 1,600 complaints and inquiries and helped policyholders recoup $906,000 from April 1 through June 30.

A review of recent reports on the state insurer examination webpage shows five more market conduct exams resulting in fines this month alone, mostly against life and health companies. One was Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., as part of the multi-state settlement involving the use of the Social Security death master file.

The most recent, closed this week against Health Net, resulted in a $25,000 fine against the insurer after Leonardi found that the company had not fully safeguarded “the personal information of certain members from potential misuses.”

The second quarter industry-wide fines resulted from a variety of violations and settlements ranging from untimely claim payments to improper licensing.

In the second quarter Leonardi also implemented rate disclosure information for health insurers. Health insurers and HMOs in Connecticut have agreed to begin notifying their individual and small group policyholders each time they submit a rate request to the state Insurance Department for review.

Since Jan. 1, the Department has recovered more than $4 million for policyholders and state taxpayers, the Commissioner said.

The majority of the funds recovered for policyholders stemmed from complaints over health, accident and homeowners policies. The breakdown of funds recovered from April 1 through June 30 is:

  • Accident, Health – $542,958
  • Auto – $94,853
  • Fire and Commercial – $490
  • General Liability – $34,310
  • Homeowners, Farmers – $190,667
  • Life, Annuities – $32,382
  • Miscellaneous – $10,418

In 2011, the Department recovered approximately $6.75 million for policyholders and Connecticut taxpayers, broken down by $4.34 million in claims owed to policyholders and $2.41 million in fines against dozens of companies for violating state laws and regulations.

The Department calculates the amount it recovers based on what the consumer received as a result of the department’s intervention. The CAU analyzes the inquiries each quarter, identifying trends that may affect consumers. This data helps determine topics for consumer education and as tools to help the Department monitor the industry. The Market Conduct enforcement actions are posted on the Department’s Web site at www.ct.gov/cid