by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger
As I near the end of my stewardship as Kansas Insurance Commissioner, I found some interesting statistics about the insurance industry in Kansas while cleaning out some old files.
The comparisons below show how insurance in Kansas has changed over the past dozen years. Because most of the information is based on fiscal years (from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next), I thought I would share with you how the numbers looked in fiscal year (FY) 2003 compared to the most current fiscal year numbers we have available.
Money sent to the state general fund—In FY 2003 the Kansas Insurance Department passed $94.9 million to the state general fund budget in collected fees and insurance taxes from companies and agents. In FY 2014, that number was $173.438 million.
Consumer complaints—I believe that every year I have been commissioner we have had fewer consumer complaints about insurance issues. In FY 2003 we had 5,757 actual filed complaints. In FY 2013 the number was 2,696. I think our emphasis on consumer education, and our advocacy for policyholders when they had issues with companies, have contributed mightily toward that decline. Being a savvy insurance consumer means taking care of concerns before they become issues.
Recovery of money for consumers—With the number of consumer complaints going downward year after year, that means that the amount of money we can recover from companies goes down too. In FY 2003 we recovered $7.58 million in money for policyholders over and above what the company offered in initial settlements; that number in FY 2013 was $3.83 million. Again, savvy consumers and KID advocacy stopped concerns from becoming complaints.
Number of licensed agents— With products and markets increasing, the number of licensed agents in Kansas has boomed during the past 12 years, mostly in the number of nonresident agents doing business in the state. In 2003 there were 23,292 resident agents and 33,768 nonresident agents. As of late November 2014 we had 22,535 resident and 92,284 nonresident agents for a total of 114,819. With that number, I think you could say the insurance potential for agents looks pretty good.
Number of department employees—When I began my tenure in 2003 KID had 157 full-time employees. Presently we have 123 FTEs. We have been able to reduce the number of employees because of enhancements to our computerized processes, natural job attrition and the hard work of the long-time employees who absorbed the workload.
Growth of the industry in the state—In 2003 the insurance industry in Kansas was an $11 billion economic force. Today that number stands at $17 billion. Through careful use of free market principles and judicious regulation, KID continues to oversee a vibrant industry that serves both consumers and companies fairly.
One other growth item—More than 240 additional companies have been licensed to do business in the state since 2003.
I’m proud of the accomplishments of the department and our staff members during my tenure. I believe, on the whole, we have done a good job of balancing the three-legged stool of regulation, education and advocacy.
The Kansas Insurance Department, established in 1871, assists and educates consumers, regulates and reviews companies, and licenses agents selling insurance products in the state. More about the department is online at www.ksinsurance.org or at www.facebook.com/kansasinsurancedepartment.