The goal of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is to ensure that “[a]ll Michigan consumers. . . have access to insurance . . . provided by companies that treat them fairly.”1 DIFS’s Office of Consumer Services helps achieve this goal by investigating consumer complaints of wrongdoing by insurance companies, agencies, and agents. If you think your claim has been delayed, unfairly denied, or otherwise poorly handled, you can file a complaint with DIFS requesting an investigation
Before you file a complaint, DIFS encourages consumers to first try and resolve disputes directly with their insurance company. DIFS cannot act as your legal representative, make determinations of fact regarding your claim, or order an insurance company to pay you. However, it can answer questions you have about your policy or the claims process. If you submit a complaint, it can investigate to ensure that your company, adjuster, or agent is complying with all the applicable laws, regulations, and policy provisions.
If you have already tried to resolve the issue with your company and failed, you can file a complaint online at the DIFS website or by sending your completed form via fax to 517-284-8837; via e-mail to [email protected]; or mail to P.O Box 30220, Lansing, MI 48909-7720. The complaint forms request your contact information, the name of the insurance company, agency, or agent involved, and the applicable policy or claim number. It then asks for the reason for your complaint and a description of your problem. Once you have fully described why you are submitting a complaint, you will have an opportunity to attach documents to help DIFS investigate the issue. DIFS recommends you include with your complaint copies (not originals) of your policy, your claim, and any correspondence exchanged with your company or agent.
After submitting your complaint and its supporting documentation, DIFS will contact your insurer requesting a written response to your complaint. Once a response has been received, DIFS will review it to ensure that all applicable laws and regulations are being followed. It will then send you copies of all correspondence from the investigation along with a letter explaining its findings. If your company, agent, or adjuster has violated the law, DIFS has the authority to impose fines or sanctions. If DIFS finds that no laws have been broken, it will explain how it made that determination and outline other options that may be available to you.
Navigating your insurance claim or policy can be frustrating and confusing. DIFS is there to answer your questions, advocate for your rights, and ensure that insurance companies are following the rules. 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 Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, DIFS Mission, Vision, and Values (n.d.), https://www.michigan.gov/difs/0,5269,7-303–297286–,00.html