Although the Division of Customer Service is administratively part of the Department, they are considered an “Advocate”, not a regulatory entity. Despite not being a regulator, our Insurance Code does grant Customer Service the authority to impose administrative fines for failing to respond to inquiries.
If one day you receive a request for information pertaining a complaint remember, consumers have a right to complain even when they’re wrong. To remedy these types of complaints, be detailed with your response. If you’ve conducted yourself accordingly, you’ll have nothing to worry about. On the flip side, failing to respond to a request for information, is a good indication a legitimate violation exist.
Once the licensee has been *made aware of the complaint, they’ll have *20 days to respond – *NOT 30 DAYS as required with official DFS information request pertaining to investigations. Customer Service responses must clearly address all issues/allegations raised by the complaint and as for the entities who don’t respond, they’re subject to administrative fines totaling up to $2,500.
The following illustrates Customer Service’s ability to implement a fine and increase the amounts with each failure to comply.
3rd Offense = $1,000
According to Customer Service statistics, information is typically received well within the 20-day timeframe which is fantastic since the overall goal is to address issues, satisfy consumers and close the file within 30 days. If a misrepresentation or other unfair business practice is discovered, the matter will be forwarded to a DFS Authorized Investigator.
Recording Complaints & Public request for information:
In the spirit of maintaining marketplace transparency, all consumer complaints submitted to the Department of Financial Services eventually become a public record and available to the public if requested. Prior to being released, sensitive personal information such as social security numbers, policy numbers, health and financial information is removed to protect personally identifying information from identity thieves.
Records contain the name, address, telephone number and email address of the consumer as well as the name and information of the entity who received the complaint.