Who Oversees Insurance Companies
With all the talk in recent years about regulations and government involvement in health insurance, you are may be wondering who oversees automobile insurance companies. Health insurance is heavily regulated and will probably be more so in the very near future, but automobile insurance is not as heavily regulated. However, this doesn’t mean that automobile insurance companies can roam free and do whatever they please. There is a certain amount of oversight, much of which comes from you as the customer.
Where Does Oversight Come From
The amount of regulation and oversight depends upon the state in which they are doing business. There is no federal regulation of the industry. Federal oversight is restricted by the Constitution which holds it is the mandate of the states to regulate insurance companies. Each state is free to make their own laws and choose their level of involvement. In the state of Georgia, there are extensive regulations regarding the actions of insurance companies toward their customer base. There are also methods of recourse for consumers to have their issues settled. While regulations are not as extensive as they are for health insurance, there is still oversight in place to protect consumers.
State Regulatory Departments
While states differ on the specifics of the requirements car insurance companies must live up to, there are some very general benchmarks that most states follow. Insurance companies must have the financial means to pay out claims to their customer base, provide what is deemed “fair” pricing, and offer adequate insurance plans to meet their customer’s needs. It is the state of Georgia that licenses the insurance companies eligible to sell insurance within the state. The Regulatory Services Division of the Office of Insurance and Fire Safety Commission licenses and provides oversight.
Enforcement of State Regulations
The Enforcement Division of the Office of Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner investigates insurance fraud and indecent actions reported. If an insurance company is found to be in violation, they may face fines, suspension or loss of business license, and there could even be personal fines and possible jail time for individuals involved in the violations. The contact information for the Enforcement Division is:
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
West Tower, Suite 708
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Private Ratings Organizations
In addition to state oversight, consumers play a
significant role in the oversight of auto insurance companies. There are several private ratings organizations that build their ratings in large part from consumers. The Better Business Bureau and JD Power & Associates are probably the most powerful. Organizations such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s also provide ratings, mostly on financial stability. You can find these organizations and their ratings online, and they are a great tool to help you research specific insurers
The Extent of Consumer Oversight
Consumers have more power than just influencing ratings. The auto insurance industry is incredibly competitive and many options exist for consumers as far as where to buy insurance. Bad word-of-mouth, poor customer reviews on business listing and review sites, as well as trouble big enough to make local and national news can severely damage an insurance company. You have a podium, whether it is online, through legal action or just talking with your friends, co-workers and neighbors to provide either good reviews or bad reviews. While having a bad experience with a specific company tends to give you more impetus to spread the word, post positive reviews and provide positive testimonials for an insurance company who treats you well. This can help others find a quality insurance provider.
Looking to Save Money—Get Online Quotes to Find the Cheapest Rates
After performing some research on your own to build a list of reputable auto insurance companies, it’s time to save as much money as possible. Even between the most reputable companies, there can exist a great difference in price. The phrase “fair pricing” used by Georgia regulatory agencies provides a broad range of rates that can exist and still be “fair.” With each company having their own methods of evaluating risk and their own unique business expenses, pricing can differ significantly from one insurer to the next. To work your way through this variety of rates, you have online rate quotes to help. In just a few minutes, you can receive quotes from several companies to compare and save.
Use our free rate quote tool to begin shopping for the best deal. A few minutes spent getting a group of quotes can save you hundreds in yearly premiums and get you that cheap car insurance in Georgia you are looking for.
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