At the request of Governor Culver in June of this year, the Iowa Division of Insurance conducted a three-month review of issues relating to long-term care insurance. The Governor’s request grew out of concerns at both the state and national level regarding long-term care insurance policies and increasing complaints about pricing, rate increases, denial of claims and questionable market practices.
Through a combination of public meetings, surveys of carriers writing long-term care insurance, review of complaint files and data from state and national resources, meetings with state governmental agencies and private trade associations, the Division issued a report to the Governor on September 17, 2007 with findings and recommendations. The findings stated that the Division needed to improve its oversight and customer assistance; the product needed to be better developed and priced; carriers needed to improve their customer service; and consumers needed to take the time to understand what products are offered.
Based on these findings , Commissioner Susan Voss made 27 recommendations to the Governor, some of which have already been implemented and some of which will require legislative action. Recommendations that have been implemented include the creation of a separate Enforcement Bureau within the Iowa Insurance Division and the requirement of continuing education training for insurance agents selling long-term care insurance. Recommendations requiring legislation include a prompt pay law for long-term care insurance claims and the creation of an independent review system for claim denial.
Ms. Voss noted that the recommendations will bolster consumer protection and will “significantly change the way long-term care insurance is sold, administered and regulated in Iowa."