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July 17 workshop to tackle low-ball collision repair estimates and complaints

Washington State insurance commissioner to address historic increase in auto insurance complaints as they jump 48% in last two years

Olympia, Wash.—Registration and the meeting agenda are now available for Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s July 17 workshop on the rising number of auto and homeowners insurance complaints. 

The workshop, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. virtually on Zoom, will provide a public forum for representatives from the insurance industry, national and regional repair professionals, claim experts, and consumers to share their expertise and experiences. The workshop is scheduled to end at 1 p.m., but the Zoom meeting will stay live until every member of the public who wants to provide a comment has the opportunity to do so.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has reported a historic volume of complaints since 2021. The OIC’s Consumer Advocacy Program received 467 complaints in April 2023, up from the historic average of 287 a month — a 63% increase. 

Complaints involving auto insurance are responsible for most of the rise, with the majority of the auto insurance complaints revolving around how (and how fast) claims are handled. Auto insurance complaints jumped from 2,216 in 2020 to 3,045 in 2021 and 3,276 last year — a 48% increase over a two-year period. 

Photo app-based repair estimates

Unsatisfactory settlement offers remain one of the largest drivers of auto insurance complaints, one contributing factor toward this issue is heavier reliance by insurance companies on photo app-based repair estimates, according to the OIC. These estimates can be significantly lower than expected, which drive consumer complaints.

The meeting will also be streaming on and available to watch during, and after, the meeting. 

The OIC is also accepting written comments instead of speaking during the meeting. Attendees can share their story and experience, and help contribute to a solution, by contacting OIC through its online form. OIC be taking comments until Aug. 15. 

The information and testimonies gathered during the July 17 workshop will help the OIC determine how to move forward in addressing the rising number of auto and homeowners insurance claim issues.

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