Illinois Department Of Insurance
Overview of the Illinois Department of Insurance
The Illinois Department of Insurance is a state organization structured under the executive branch of the government. The director is responsible directly to the governor of Illinois. The mission and goals of the department are primarily in the protection of consumers by regulating the insurance market and the “financial solvency” of insurance companies operating within the state. They seek to creative a competitive, yet productive marketplace for insurance companies while keeping the interest of the consumer top priority.
The Illinois Department of Insurance seeks to carry out its goals as an administration and enforcement agency. They have no power to write new state code, but they are the enforcement of the code that already exists, namely the Illinois Insurance Code and the Illinois Pension Code. The department is split into three major sections: Legal, Financial-Corporate Regulatory, and Consumer-Market. The department is also charged with regulating all aspects of the state’s Senior Health Insurance Program.
Although the department cannot create laws, they have a legislative agenda created by the legislative office of the Executive Staff. They make critical comments on existing legislation and they offer reviews, fact sheets, and white papers to the Illinois legislature and the public. In addition, this arm of the Illinois Department of Insurance negotiates legislation between the legislature, special interest groups, and the Governor. The Executive Staff of the department is also responsible for human resources, internal audits, federal communication, and participating in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
The legal section of the agency is responsible for conducting hearings, establishing rules, drafting contracts, and otherwise advising the entire department on legal issues. One thing the legal section does not do is to represent the department in court. That is handled by the Attorney General. They may, however, offer advice and assistance to the Attorney General.
The Financial-Corporate Regulatory section of the department is the watchdog of the strength and financial situation of the insurance companies. They examine companies with onsite visits and intervene on the behalf of consumers if problems are identified. This section is responsible for licensing all insurance companies in the state. The section also oversees corporate transactions, many of which require the department’s approval. This section is split into five distinct sub-sections:
• Financial Regulation
• Life, Accident & Health and Property & Casualty Financial Examination
• Life, Accident & Health and Property & Casualty Actuarial
• Public Employee Pension
• Corporate Regulation
The Consumer Market section of the Illinois Department of Insurance protects and educates consumers, while performing regulatory functions other than financial. They monitor the operations of the insurance companies in the marketplace and act on consumer complaints through policy analysis and onsite examinations. The Consumer Market section is split into seven distinct sub-sections:
• Consumer Services – This sub-section investigates consumer complaints and helps consumers in disaster areas.
• Producer – Producers are responsible for licensing individuals who sell insurance policies. They also oversee continuing education and enforce license regulations.
• Life, Accident & Health and Property and Casualty Compliance – This sub-section determines the legality of insurance policies.
• Market Conduct – Market conducts makes sure consumers are treated fairly in dealing with insurance companies.
• Cost Containment – This sub-section of the Illinois Department of Insurance reviews the financial condition of the property/casualty insurance industry.
• Office of Consumer Health Insurance/Uninsured Ombudsman – Offers assistance to consumers regarding health insurance.
• The Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) – SHIP trains volunteer councilors to teach seniors about Medicare. They have 181 offices and a staff of 725 volunteers.
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