The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance was founded in 1873. The Insurance Commissioner is the individual in charge of the department. The current acting Insurance Commissioner (as of 2015) is Teresa D. Miller.
The department’s main functions are to:
- Look at insurance companies to make sure they are financially sound
- Issue licenses to individuals and companies in the insurance industry
- Regulate insurance rates and policies
- Oversee the process of attempting to rehabilitate failing insurance companies
- Run health insurance programs for children
Work with consumers
The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance offers information on their website and through other means for insurance consumers in the state of Pennsylvania. This information includes explanations of different types of insurance companies and policies, how to choose the right insurance companies and policies and how to choose individual agents. The department provides consumers information on companies currently under investigation and also information on how to file a complaint.
Work with insurance professionals
A key function of the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance is to license insurance professionals in the state, including individuals who conduct insurance appraisals. Through their website, by phone and in person, the department helps individuals understand requirements, get a license to work with insurance in Pennsylvania and then maintain that license.
Work with insurance companies
The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance provides insurance companies with specific rules and regulations for doing business in the state. Among other things, the department makes rules on how to file to do business in the state. Rules and regulations are very specific, and the department has the authority to make sure that they are being followed.
Research and data that the department does on the insurance agency is made available to professionals and analysts.
The department also administers the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund, commonly known as Mcare. The main purpose of this fund is to compensate individuals injured due to medical negligence. Insurance companies work with the department on individual claims.
The department administers programs on compensation for catastrophic loss and workers’ compensation.
Press and communications
The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance has an office of press and communications to make information available to the media and public about insurance related laws and regulations. The office makes a number of publications, brochures and facts available to anyone interested and also coordinates speaking engagements for department staff.
The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance overseas and enforces regulations for an enormous variety of insurance companies, ranging from local entities that have been practicing insurance in Pennsylvania since the 1700’s to more more recent international insurance players.
Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
In short, the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance has many responsibilities in its mission of making and enforcing the laws regulating what is the fifth largest insurance market in the United States. The department responds to the needs of consumers and keeps the public informed on the entire insurance industry.