Georgia Falls Below US Average on Insurance Regulation Spending

Elizabeth Renter
By Elizabeth Renter 

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Georgia's department of insurance had a budget of $21.5 million in 2015, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That seems like a lot of money at first glance, but how does it compare with budgets of other state insurance departments around the nation? A new analysis looks beyond the total dollar amount to provide a different perspective on resources available to state insurance departments.

These insurance departments are responsible for regulating the rates for auto, health, homeowners and life insurance. The departments also license agents and companies, resolve consumer questions and complaints, enforce insurance laws and investigate fraud allegations. The ability to do all of these things depends on money, staff and legislative support.

According to the data analysis by NerdWallet, Georgia’s insurance department 2015 budget represented 0.05% of total state expenditures, below the U.S. average of 0.07%. To regulate insurance, the state spent $2.11 per capita, less than the national average of $4.20. And the department kept just 2.21% of its total revenue — the money brought in through fees, taxes and penalties paid by insurers and agents — compared with 5.98% nationally.

The new report also looked at how many staffers were dedicated to consumer services. These are the people who answer phones and resolve complaints against insurers. In Georgia, 15.38% of insurance department staff worked in consumer affairs, compared with the U.S. average of 12.82%.

Georgia’s insurance department, the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, didn’t respond to requests for comment.