The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC), created in 1902, regulates the state’s insurance industry to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.1 One way the SCC does this is by investigating consumer complaints against insurance companies, agents, and adjusters. If you think that your insurance claim or policy has been delayed, wrongly denied, deliberately underpaid, or improperly managed, you can file a complaint with SCC and request an investigation into the matter.
Before you file a complaint, SCC encourages consumers to first try to resolve disputes directly with their insurance company. The SCC cannot act as your legal representative, make determinations of fact regarding your claim, or order an insurance company to pay you. It can answer questions about your policy or the claims process and investigate complaints to ensure that your company, adjuster, or agent is complying with all state laws, regulations, and policy provisions.
To file a complaint, visit the SCC website and select “File a Complaint” under the “Consumer” tab. This will take you a webpage with links to various SCC forms. If you want to file your complaint online, select “File an Insurance Complaint Online” under the “Insurance Companies and Agents” section. This will take you to the SCC Consumer Portal Login, where you must make an account by providing a valid home and e-mail address, your name and contact information, and creating a password. After you make your account, you can complete and submit your complaint online, upload supporting documentation, (like your policy or correspondence with your company), and check on the status of your complaint throughout the investigation.
You can also submit a complaint by mail or fax. To access a printable complaint form, click “Learn more about Filing a Complaint involving an Insurance Company” under the “Insurance Companies and Agents Section” on the SCC Complaint page. You should then select “File a Complaint by Mail or Fax” and choose either Property and Casualty or Life and Health depending on what kind of insurance your complaint is about. Once you make your selection, you will be given access to a printable complaint form.
The complaint form requests your contact information, the name of the insurance company, agency, or agent involved, and the applicable policy or claim number. You should also include details about what you think your company or agent did wrong and a description of what you think a fair resolution would be. Completed complaints and copies of any supporting documents can be sent via mail to P.O. Box 1157 Richmond, VA 23218 or via fax to (804) 371-9349 (for Property and Casualty complaints) or (804) 371-9944 (for Life and Health complaints).
Within a week of receiving your complaint, the SCC will contact you with a number assigned to your complaint. It will also reach out to your insurance company requesting an explanation. The SCC will review the company’s response, along with all the information you provided, to determine if there has been a violation of state law, regulations, or your policy. Once a determination is reached, the SCC will contact you with a summary of its findings. If a law has been violated, the SCC has the authority to impose fines or sanctions against the offending company, agency, or agent. If not, it can still answer your questions and recommend further actions you may want to take. The whole process generally takes around 45 days.
Navigating your insurance claim or policy can be frustrating and confusing. Virginia’s SCC is there to answer your questions, advocate for your rights, and ensure that insurance companies are following the rules. If you have questions about the complaint process or want to know if the SCC can help you, call (877) 310-6560 or e-mail AskAQuestion@scc.virginia.gov. If you have other questions or concerns about your insurance claim, please do not hesitate to contact Merlin Law Group for a free case evaluation.
(Note: This guest blog is by Liberty Ritchie, a Licensed Legal Intern in our Oklahoma City office)
1 State Corporation Commission, About Us, (n.d.) https://www.scc.virginia.gov/pages/About-the-SCC, (retrieved Nov. 4, 2021).