Consumer Watchdog Calls on Commissioner Poizner to Protect 230,000 California Homeowners from Safeco's Greed
Santa Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog has asked the California Department of Insurance to reject the proposed 6.9%, or $13.3 million, homeowners insurance rate hike proposed by Safeco Insurance Company. Safeco, which is owned by California's fifth largest homeowners insurer Liberty Mutual, already raised its rates by 4.1% last July. If Safeco's proposed increase is approved, then the homeowners’ insurance rates charged to its 230,000 California customers will have increased by an average of 11% in less than a year.
The $13.3 million that Safeco wants from policyholders would provide nothing more than additional excess profits to the company, according to Consumer Watchdog. In its challenge, Consumer Watchdog asked Insurance Commissioner Poizner to instead order a decrease to Safeco’s rates.
“Even though Safeco already raised its rates last year, Safeco is back at the trough clamoring for more of its policyholders’ hard earned money. We doubt that Safeco customers have seen their home values or incomes increase by 11% in the last year, and we know that Safeco's data do not indicate a need for higher premiums,” said Consumer Watchdog attorney Todd M. Foreman. “Based on our review of the company’s planned price hike, it is evident that Safeco is already charging its customers too much and should be forced to lower rates significantly instead of padding its profits on the backs of Californians.”
Under Proposition 103, insurance companies must seek approval from the Department of Insurance for a rate change, and consumers and consumer organizations may intervene and challenge any proposed rate changes. Consumer Watchdog has saved California policyholders more than $1.7 billion since 2003.
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