Lack of electronic records makes tracking insurance complaints in Colorado costly

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs):  Insurance data that legal and consumer experts say could be crucial for homeowners choosing insurance companies is virtually impossible to get in Colorado because of limited resources with state’s Division of Insurance.

The division relies on consumer complaints to track trends in the state – for instance, the number of cancellations and non-renewal notices issued by insurance companies. But the division has no electronic filing system, so those documents are kept in boxes off-site. While inquiring homeowners can get electronic summaries of data collected, accessing records comes at a hefty price – at least $25 per hour to review, and at least $28 an hour to take them out of storage.

Data on the number of complaints and non-renewals in Colorado could help regulators and consumers. The state uses complaints internally to spot issues within Colorado’s insurance market. For Colorado residents, however, taking a look at company habits could help them decide which companies to choose, said former Rep. Claire Levy, who as a legislator worked extensively with the insurance division.

All of those documents are considered public records and available through the Colorado Open Records Act. While the documents are free, it takes the short-staffed division time to get at them, officials with the office have said. Getting the division an electronic filing system would make retrieving the records easier, but that is not within its budget, said Bobbi Baca, a supervisor for consumer affairs.

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