The Louisiana Department of Insurance reviews of consumer complaints helped state residents get more than $5.3 million in insurance payments in 2011.

The department handled 13,208 consumer inquiries and 3,453 official consumer complaints.

The payments resulted from insurance claims disputes in which the department worked with insurance companies and consumers to recover monies above what the insurance companies originally offered to settle claims. Funds recovered are from formal complaints regarding property and casualty, health insurance, life and annuities, and consumer advocacy claims.

“Our staff works diligently to see that Louisiana’s insurance consumers are being treated fairly by the insurance companies they pay to protect them and their property,” Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said in a news release. “These tangible, positive rewards indicate our success in responding to consumer concerns across all of the insurance sectors in Louisiana.”

The department’s life and annuities division drew the most questions, with 8,257 inquiries, and nearly half of the recoveries, $2.5 million. However, consumers filed only 471 formal complaints.

The office of property and casualty drew the most formal complaints, 1,731, and was second in inquiries, 4,257, and recoveries, $1.7 million.

The office of health had 672 inquiries, 1,248 formal complaints and $1.1 million in recoveries.