The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance announced Thursday that over $22.8 million was located and returned to Tennesseans in combined life insurance benefits/annuities and monies returned through the Department’s mediation efforts in 2020.
TDCI’s figures show:
• $10,164,747.27 was returned to Tennessee consumers last year as a result of TDCI’s mediation efforts — a process where TDCI insurance investigators intercede between insurance companies and policyholders to get wrongfully denied claims overturned and paid for policyholders.
• $12,707,272 was located in 2020 for Tennessee consumers through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Life Insurance Policy Locator Service. Available since November 2016, the Life Insurance Policy Locator Service is a free tool that enables beneficiaries, executors or legal representatives of a deceased person to track down the life insurance policies or annuity contracts of their late family members or friends.
“In the midst of last year’s unprecedented challenges, our insurance team continued to assist hard-working Tennesseans by working to help return money through the mediation process and by answering their questions and providing information regarding their insurance policies,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “I am proud of our team and their commitment to assisting Tennesseans every day.”
The restitution and locator service figures reflect only a portion of the work undertaken by TDCI’s Insurance staff in 2020 to responsibly regulate Tennessee’s growing insurance market. TDCI’s figures reflect the ongoing growth of the insurance industry in the Volunteer State, including:
• Two new Tennessee domestic insurance companies were licensed in 2020, for a total of 65 total licensed active Tennessee domestic insurance companies.
• $27.9 billion in nationwide premium was written by these 65 Tennessee domestic insurance companies. This represents a 20.4% increase in premium volume written by Tennessee domestic insurance companies compared to 2019.
• 53 new traditional insurance companies headquartered outside of Tennessee were licensed to do business in Tennessee during 2020.
• 1,907 total traditional insurance companies are actively licensed in Tennessee.
• $45.1 billion in premium volume written in Tennessee by these 1,907 insurance companies, making Tennessee No. 16 in the nation for premium volume according to the NAIC.
• 226,454 insurance agents are licensed in Tennessee in 2020, an 11.8% increase since December of 2019.
• A new and more paperless licensing system launched in 2020 to help modernize insurance licensing in Tennessee.
• International Paper relocated its captive insurance company from Vermont to Tennessee, establishing Tennessee’s 700th risk-bearing entity.
• For the eighth consecutive year, workers’ compensation insurance premiums are likely to decline for most Tennessee businesses.
Looking ahead to 2021, consumers should also always remember a few essential tips for working with their insurance companies.
• Do your homework before purchasing a policy for any line of insurance.
• Read the policies so you will know and understand its provisions before filing a claim.
• Visit our website to verify that an insurance company or an agent are licensed in Tennessee before you buy.
• Look up complaint data to see how well a company is responding to consumer issues.
• Homeowners should always keep pictures and/or receipts for all contents in your property. (Most fire losses leave nothing.)
• For health policies, make sure your doctor and/or healthcare facility participates in the network of your insurance carrier.
• For life insurance policies, depending upon age and health status, you may or may not be eligible for certain products. You should seek the assistance of a licensed insurance agent to help you make the choice that is best suited for your personal needs.
Consumers who have questions about their insurance policies or want to file a complaint can contact the TDCI Consumer Insurance Services team at 615-741- 2218 or 1-800-342-4029 or visit us online at tn.gov/insurance.