CHICAGO (CBS) — You’re required to have auto insurance in Illinois if you drive, but who’s making sure those insurance companies pay out on claims?
On Thursday, the CBS 2 Morning Insiders had yet another case of no cash after a crash.READ MORE: 2 Chicago Police Officers, One Driver Injured In South Austin Crash
In this case, an Illinois insurance provider couldn’t reach its own policy holder, so they said the person filing the claim could try suing.
We brought you that story last month. Now the Morning Insiders share another tale of grief involving another insurance company.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory asks who is keeping tabs on insurers in Illinois?
The accident wasn’t the worst, the damage wasn’t that bad, but the claims process was terrible, Anthony Harden said of his experience with American Heartland Insurance. The company is the provider for the driver at fault in a collision with Harden’s car.
“We just completely got the runaround. I’mma just give it to you point blank,” said Harden, who added that taking his vehicle in for an estimate was the farthest he ever got with American Heartland Insurance. “I called them and I said, ‘Hey what’s going on?’ And that was when the games began. ‘Oh, we’re still waiting on the paperwork.”
State data shows American Heartland has one of the worst complaint records in Illinois.
“There is a non-standard auto insurance market that insures drivers that have less-than-perfect driving records,” said Janet Patrick, director of the Illinois Insurance Hotline, which is sponsored by the insurance industry.READ MORE: Explosion, Industrial Fire Prompts Evacuation Order In Rockton, Illinois
She explained those non-standard companies – like American Heartland – tend to be criticized more.
“They insure people that are riskier drivers, so they probably have more accidents, and so they have more opportunity to have complaints filed against them,” Patrick said.
Illinois cracked down on insurers a few years ago. Some companies had been denying claims for misrepresentation by their policy holders, even though the provider never vetted the driver before collecting premium money. A 2017 law made that against code.
“The [Illinois] Department [of Insurance] has been proactive in trying to address and resolve issues like that,” said Patrick.
American Heartland’s been examined twice, and found compliant both times.
“Whew. Lord, my heart dropped,” said Harden of his reaction when he saw the Morton Grove company’s “F” rating and 1-star reviews on the Better Business Bureau. “Case after case after case after case after case of my case — the same scenario.”
Harden gave up waiting on his claim and got the car fixed through his own insurance company. He had to cough up $500 for his deductible, and is now paying a higher premium.MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Possible?
CBS 2 left multiple messages with American Heartland Insurance Company, but no one ever called us back.