News Briefs

Insurance co’s penalized for faulty policies, procedures

Susan L. Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), announced March 10 that Travelers Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. have paid Vermont $154,000 in fines and repaid consumers another $54,500.

The two insurance companies this week paid fines totaling $154,000 for violating Vermont laws regarding the timing of policy cancellation and renewal notices, faulty practices when investigating auto liability claims and, in one case, wrongly calculating auto accident deductibles.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. paid an administrative penalty of $38,000 for inappropriately notifying consumers of the cancellation or non-renewal of homeowners’ policies in 2013-14. An administrative penalty of $20,000 was assessed for incorrectly calculating auto accident claims. The company voluntarily repaid policyholders more than $18,000 in addition to the administrative penalty.

Travelers Insurance Co. paid an administrative penalty in the amount of $96,000 for the same violations and for incorrectly requiring some policyholders to pay deductibles following auto accidents between 2011 and 2013. The company has paid restitution to those Vermonters in the amount of $34,584.

Both Liberty Mutual and Travelers have agreed to modify policies and procedures when investigating auto accidents. In addition to further training, insurance adjusters will conduct more in-depth interviews, obtain police reports, compile photographic evidence and consult with experts. They have also agreed to modify recordkeeping to establish more complete documentation.

Donegan said she appreciated the cooperation the department received from Travelers and Liberty Mutual during the investigations and is pleased with the corrective measures both companies have taken to comply with Vermont insurance regulations.

“It is this department’s number one priority to protect Vermont consumers so I applaud both companies for promptly resolving these issues,” she said, “and this is a perfect example of how insurance laws and regulations guarantee fair treatment for all policyholders.”

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