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Filing a Complaint with the South Dakota Department of Insurance

By Michael Abourezk

You can file a complaint with the South Dakota Division of Insurance by going to the SD DOI website at http://www.state.sd.us/drr2/reg/insurance/complaint.html, or by writing to the Division of Insurance at South Dakota Division of Insurance, 445 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501.

Before you file your complaint, understand that the Division of Insurance very rarely orders any company to pay, even when the company is plainly wrong.

In our work we have reviewed thousands of Department of Insurance complaints. In just about every case Insurance Department simply sends the complaint to the company and requires that the company provide a response. Once the company provides an excuse, any excuse at all, the Division of Insurance passes the response on to you, and closes its file. State officials rarely look beyond the explanation to see if it is reasonable.

It isn't that the people at the Division of Insurance don't care, but they have limited staff, limited time, and a thousand insurance companies to monitor and police. There is no way they can investigate all the complaints they get, and they don't. If they did, they would never get anything else done. To make it worse, each insurance company has a designated a "legal compliance specialist" whose job is to deal with the Department of Insurance when a complaint comes in, and these people quickly become experts at knowing what I am telling you now. They learn how to provide a response to the regulators that discourages them from digging any deeper. In most cases that simply involves offering an excuse that will require time to figure out who is right and who is wrong. When that happens the Division of Insurance will pass the company's answer on to you, and close the file.

We are not saying that filing a complaint is a complete waste of time. However, you have to make it as easy as possible for the officials. That means laying out the policy provisions, the most important facts, and perhaps even the law, in a simple manner that makes it obvious that the claim is payable.

If you are having trouble, a lawyer with a background in insurance law can give you a lot of direction. You can't afford to hire a lawyer in every case, but if you play it right you can get some free advice and direction that can make all of this a lot easier.

Find a lawyer who deals in insurance law, and offers initial consultations without charge. Yes, there are many lawyers who won't talk to you without cash in hand. But there are many others that talk to people every day about their problems and offer advice with no charge at all. We offer that free service every day, and it is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling things that we do. Sometimes just knowing what button to push makes all the difference. You can e-mail us at .


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