Each state has its own insurance department that is tasked with ensuring the insurance industry is abiding by state law. Because insurance is regulated at the state level, each state either elects or appoints an insurance commissioner that is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the best interests of its residents by monitoring the fiscal responsibility among insurance companies while fostering a competitive marketplace within the industry.

The Department of Insurance’s title and tasks vary from state to state, but one thing they have in common is the education and services they provide to residents on insurance-related topics. If you need help choosing an insurance company, your state’s department of insurance can provide you with data comparing rates and complaint information. And if you’re having a problem with your insurance company and need to file a complaint, you’ll go through your state’s department of insurance. K-Factor Advocates is also well-versed in state laws and regulations and is available to help create solutions with various insurance companies.

In Montana, the office is known as the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and is headed by the Montana State Auditor. Republican Troy Downing was elected to the position in the 2020 election, succeeding fellow Republican and current U.S. Representative for Montana Matt Rosendale. As the insurance commissioner for Montana, Downing is tasked with ensuring fairness and transparency among the insurance and securities industries.

Last year, the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance office generated more than $161 million in revenue for Montana and reviewed more than 74,000 individual insurance policies for legal sufficiency, according to the Insurance Department at the Office of the Montana State Auditor’s website.

The first insurance regulatory agency, established in 1851, was the New Hampshire Insurance Department. Just two years later, at least seven more states established insurance departments, including California, Missouri, Indiana, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Less than a decade after the Civil War, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners was established in 1871. The association was formed in order to assist insurance commissioners by providing regulatory best practices and standards to better serve the public interest.

The insurance industry had long been solely regulated by the states, until 1944, when Paul v. Virginia was overturned, allowing the insurance industry to be subject to federal law. The United States vs. South-Eastern Underwriters Association ruling concluded that insurance was in fact interstate commerce and should be subject to the Sherman Act, a federal antitrust law. A year later, a bill sponsored by U.S. Senators Pat McCarran (Democrat, Nevada) and Homer Ferguson (Republican, Michigan) that would keep insurance regulation in the hands of the states, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Though subject to certain conditions, the McCarran-Ferguson Act was proposed in order to remove any confusion or uncertainty on the states’ regulatory authority over insurance following the United States vs. South-Eastern Underwriters Association ruling.

Because insurance regulation is monitored on a state-by-state basis, residents should contact their state’s insurance department for any questions or complaints regarding individual policies. Educating the public about insurance rates and practices is part of the reason the office exists, and as a taxpayer that’s helping fund its efforts, you’re entitled to utilize it.


K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

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