Last updated: August 24. 2013 5:53AM - 26 Views

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ST. MARYS — There are myriad tough issues facing insurance in the state. A year into her new job, however, the director of the state’s insurance department said there are efforts under way to tackle the issues.Mary Jo Hudson, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, made the comments to members of the St. Marys Rotary Club on Wednesday. While challenging, Hudson said the issues can be addressed if people come together to help find solutions.“Predatory sales practices directed at seniors are some of the largest number of consumer claims based on those type practices. It’s with certain types of life insurance sales, Medicare as well,” Hudson said. “Often folks use aggressive sales tactics. They try to threaten the senior that they’re going to lose Medicare coverage. It’s important we know about those agents or the companies so we can try to get that stopped. For all the great agents out there, there are a few bad apples. The more we go after and stop it helps keep prices down.”With more than 220,000 licensed agents and more than 1,700 licensed insurance companies in the state, regulating insurance can be a bit overwhelming. Hudson said she has enjoyed diving into the tough topics.“It has been just an extraordinary year,” Hudson said. “I feel very blessed to be part of this.”The department doesn’t just oversee and regulate the industry, Hudson said. The department also works with consumers who are faced with issues. It’s not an aspect of the department’s mission that is as widely known as it could be, she said.“Last year we did handle over 100,000 telephone calls alone,” Hudson said. “I think we could be better known. We’re working on ways to get that word out.”Health insurance is another key issue the department is working on, she said.“Coverage is becoming so expensive that it’s difficult for folks to get it. That is our biggest market crisis here,” Hudson said. “Ohio actually in most other areas we have a very competitive market. We have some of the lowest auto and property rates in the country. We’re a really low-risk place to live. We don’t have hurricanes or earthquakes or really big fires.”

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