The Hollowing Out of Insurance Coverage

Recent congressional testimony by the Legislative Director of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) catalogued several major trends in the insurance industry over the past two decades. Most of these trends are extremely adverse to consumers including small businesses. The first trend is the “hollowing out” of the benefits provided in many insurance policies through more restrictive coverage provisions and expanding exclusions that are poorly understood by the insureds who purchase these legally complex documents. The second trend is that many major insurance companies have turned their “claims operations into ‘profit centers’ by using computer programs and other techniques designed to routinely underpay policy holder claims.” As a result, the percentage of each premium dollar that goes to pay claims has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years, producing “unprecedented profits” for insurance company shareholders and insurance company executives at the expense of the insureds. The full report can be found at:
Testimony of Travis V. Plunkett, Legislative Director, Consumer Federation of America, 7/29/08.