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People's Insurance Counsel Division

The People's Insurance Counsel Division (PICD) represents the interests of two Maryland groups:

We are located in the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. While the Division cannot provide legal representation for individual consumers, PICD protects insurance consumers by:

  • Discussing insurance problems with consumers to answer questions and explain the process available in Maryland for review of complaints.
  • Reviewing complaints filed with the Maryland Insurance Administration to identify patterns in insurance practices that point to larger issues.
  • Writing brochures to explain difficult insurance topics that affect consumers.
  • Reviewing insurance company rate filings to make sure that insurance rates are supported by data and are not excessive.
  • Reviewing insurance company filings of policy forms and rules to determine consistency with Maryland legal requirements and impact on consumers.
  • Reviewing proposed legislation affecting consumers and representing consumer interests before the Maryland General Assembly.
  • Proposing legislation to strengthen consumer protection laws.
  • Alerting consumers to changes in Maryland that may affect them.
  • Working with community organizations to bring insurance information to consumers.

Latest News from the People's Insurance Counsel


July 23, 2013 - Filing ONE Claim with your Homeowners' Insurance Company Can Significantly Increase Your Premium

Sadly, too many Maryland homeowners do not realize filing a single claim with their homeowners' insurance company can create such a substantial financial burden. In certain instances the increase in the homeowner's premium may be greater than the amount the insurance company pays for the claim. Recently, homeowners filing claims with Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company ("Allstate") and Liberty Insurance Corporation ("Liberty Mutual") discovered that filing a single claim with these companies increased their premiums 48% and 34%, respectively. With respect Allstate, the claim was only $350 after the application of the insured's deductible. When the homeowners complained to the Maryland Insurance Administration ("MIA"), their claims were denied because the MIA concluded that those rates do not violate Maryland insurance law.

The People's Insurance Counsel Division recommends that you check with your insurer, especially if you are insured by Allstate and Liberty Mutual, to ask whether your premium will increase if you file a claim and, if so, how much. If your insurer refuses to give you this information, we recommend that you shop around for a new insurer who will.


HOW TO HANDLE INSURANCE CLAIMS POST-SANDY

Sept. 13, 2012 - Insurance Companies Are Required to Make Claim Checks Payable to You, NOT TO YOUR CONTRACTOR

Recently, the Maryland Insurance Administration (“MIA”) found an insurer in violation of the Insurance Article for making a claims check payable solely to a third-party contractor without authorization from the insured.  In that case, the insurance company paid Contractor # 1 to make repairs on the insured’s home.  But after payment was made, Contractor #1 did not complete the work.  When the policyholder brought in Contractor #2 to complete the work, the insurance company refused to pay Contractor#2.   After the policyholder complained, the MIA required the insurance company to pay for Contractor #2’s services because the insurance company had failed to obtain a written authorization from the policyholder that would have  permitted direct payment to Contractor #1.   Remember, your insurance company must obtain your permission to pay third-party contractors directly. 

September 6, 2012 - Water Back-Up Endorsements
Several Insurance Companies Have Significantly Lowered Available Water Back-Up Coverage...More

August 16, 2012 - MIA Bulletin 12-16
Filing Too Many Claims With Insurance Carrier May Lead To Cancellation or Nonrenewal...More

August 10, 2012 - Switching Your Insurance Agent Might Lead To Increased Premiums - But Don't Allow It... More


Hurricanes and severe storms leave many homeowners with fallen trees and limbs. Your homeowners policy may provide coverage for a fallen tree but coverage depends on the terms of your policy and the kind of damage caused by the tree. This short video from the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains the coverage typically provided by a homeowners policy. If you have a fallen tree, review your policy or call your agent to discuss the coverage that may be available. Maryland law protects consumers when they make a call to an insurance agent for information. That inquiry will not result in a claim against your policy.

 


Maryland Attorney General's Office
People's Insurance Counsel Division
200 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
410-576-6432
1 (888) 743-0023
email: PIC@oag.state.md.us

The People's Insurance Counsel Division welcomes your comments and suggestions. Click here to email pic@oag.state.md.us. And, please come visit us again soon.

 

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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