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Legal Update
8/27/2011
Jerry Flanagan
Good news for Blue Cross consumers. Yesterday morning I drove up to Ventura to attend the final approval hearing in Consumer Watchdog's class action lawsuit against Blue Cross for illegally closing insurance policies and using big rate hikes to force patients into lower-benefit and higher-deductible health coverage -- known as the "death...
Legal Update
7/15/2011
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Mercury Insurance wants to hike its already excessive homeowner’s insurance rates: Mercury’s stalling tactics have already cost its policyholders $25 million, and each day that Mercury is allowed to overcharge its policyholders amounts to $35,000 in excess profits.   In May 2009, Mercury Insurance sought to hike its homeowners...
Legal Update
7/14/2011
By Jerry Flanagan
What's worse than an insurance company that denies a child access to medically necessary treatments for autism?  A complicit regulator that's too cozy with the very insurers that they are charged to oversee. On Wednesday, Governor Brown's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) tried to convince Senate President Darrell...
Legal Update
6/21/2011
By Jerry Flanagan
Today Consumer Watchdog announced a settlement in our class action lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross of California. The settlement provides relief from the "Death Spiral"–the apt industry term for what happens when a health insurer “closes” certain health coverage policies to new customers, and later raises rates to...
Legal Update
6/14/2011
Jerry Flanagan
By the end of this week, 12.5 million current and former Farmers insurance customers across the country will get a notice in the mail about a pending class action settlement.  That notice provides consumers information about their rights under the settlement, which provides $455 million to consumers. Consumer Watchdog has intervened in the...
Legal Update
4/15/2011
Jerry Flanagan
This week Consumer Watchdog's legal team called on Farmers Group, Inc. to disclose how it plans to spend up to $400 million or more in class action settlement funds that are intended for consumers but will revert to the insurance company under the terms of a pending class action settlement. Among other things, Consumer Watchdog called on...
Legal Update
4/12/2011
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At a hearing on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, DIRECTV customers who were charged cancellation fees of as much as $480 – even if the service was never installed in the first place – asked a California court to let their lawsuit proceed as a “class action.” While the judge put off a decision on the class action, she refused...
Legal Update
3/30/2011
Jerry Flanagan
Today Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik takes a hard look at a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance opposed by Consumer Watchdog.  According to Hiltzik, under the settlement, Farmers would likely keep the lion's share of a $455 million settlement fund intended for consumers while lawyers for the plaintiff...
Legal Update
3/10/2011
By Jerry Flanagan
David Lazarus' column in the Los Angeles Times (see below) reports that on May 1st, Blue Cross will dramatically increase the annual deductibles on individual health insurance policies, increase premiums, and make other changes to benefits like increasing co-pays. If Blue Cross is allowed to get away with making sweeping changes to our...
Legal Update
3/3/2011
By Jerry Flanagan
There were twenty-five lawyers in gray suits waiting in a Los Angeles Superior Court courtroom yesterday afternoon when I walked in to try to make sure that $455 million in class action settlement funds go to the Farmers policyholders who are entitled to the money, instead of being kept by the insurance company. Harvey Rosenfield said he hadn...