Consumer Watchdog Says California Drivers Need Protections Against Misuse Of Technology By Insurers

By Dave LaChance, REPAIRER DRIVEN NEWS

September 23, 2022

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2022/09/23/consumer-watchdog-says-ca…

Consumer protection organization Consumer Watchdog is urging California’s insurance commissioner to protect the state’s residents against the misuse of computer algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) by insurers.

Consumer Watchdog Calls on Insurance Commissioner Lara to Reject Allstate’s Job-Based Insurance Rate Discrimination, Adopt Regulations to Stop the Practice Industrywide

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject Allstate’s proposed $165 million auto insurance rate hike and its two-tiered job- and education-based discriminatory rating system, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a letter sent to the Commissioner today. The group called on the Commissioner to adopt regulations to require all insurance companies industrywide to rate Californians fairly, regardless of their job or education levels, as he promised to do nearly three years ago.

Californians Need Protection Against Insurance Industry’s Use of Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Consumer Watchdog Will Tell Insurance Commissioner

Los Angeles, CA -- The insurance industry’s use of algorithms and Artificial Intelligence to set premiums and determine who can get insurance coverage is a serious threat to Californians and a violation of California law, Consumer Watchdog will tell the Insurance Commissioner at a public meeting today called to examine high-tech bias and discrimination by insurance companies.

As Auto Insurance Rates Rise, Legislative and Non-Commercial Action and Other News Emerge

By Peter Kavinsky, CARE FREE TV

September 2, 2022

https://cablefreetv.org/as-auto-insurance-rates-rise-legislative-and-no…

Legislative and non-profit action on high auto insurance rates was recently announced in California and Illinois, as news of GEICO and State Farm’s June rate hikes are just a couple of many that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

CSAA Faces Lawsuit Over Claims It Overcharged Auto Insurance Policyholders $150 Million

By Lyle Adriano, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

August 11, 2022

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/csaa-faces-l…

A lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court claims that CSAA – California’s seventh-largest auto insurance company – overcharged customers during the COVID-19 pandemic by at least $150 million.

California Commissioner Withholds Auto Insurance Rate Approvals, Rattles Market

By Renée Kiriluk-Hill, BESTWIRE

August 10. 2022

https://news.ambest.com/NewsContent.aspx?&refnum=243607

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is pumping the brakes on private passenger auto rate hike requests from carriers, including Geico, which he said overcharged policyholders during COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, according to spokesperson Gabriel Sanchez.

CSAA Took Advantage of Pandemic, Overcharged Policyholders by at Least $150 Million for Auto Insurance, Policyholder Lawsuit Says

Los Angeles -- CSAA – the northern California Auto Club affiliate – overcharged its customers by at least $150 million for auto insurance during the pandemic, and they’re going to court to get their money back.

As Auto Insurance Rates Increase, Legislative & Nonprofit Actions Crop Up

By Lurah Lowery, REPAIRER DRIVEN NEWS

August 4, 2022

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2022/08/04/as-auto-insurance-rates-i…

There have been recent legislative and nonprofit actions announced in California and Illinois regarding high auto insurance rates as news of June rate increases by GEICO and State Farm are just a couple of many that don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Statement of Consumer Watchdog on Violations of California Law by Mercury Insurance Uncovered by the California Department of Insurance

Los Angeles, CA - Today’s revelation by the California Department of Insurance(CDI) that Mercury Insurance Company has engaged in massive violations of Proposition 103 and other California consumer protection laws is deeply disturbing. But for those who have followed the sorry history of Mercury’s brazen misconduct, which dates back decades, it can come as no surprise.

Consumer Watchdog Challenges $202 Million Auto Club Insurance Rate Increase & Job-Based Insurance Rate Discrimination

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject the Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club’s (“Auto Club”) proposed $202 million auto insurance rate hike and its job- and education-based discriminatory rating system under which working-class Californians pay up to 9% higher premiums, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a petition filed with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) today.  

Consumer Watchdog Calls on Insurance Commissioner Lara to Reject Mercury’s Job-Based Insurance Rate Discrimination

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject Mercury Insurance Company’s proposed $131 million auto insurance rate hike and its job- and education-based discriminatory rating system under which working-class Californians pay up to 20% higher premiums, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a petition filed with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) yesterday.  
 

Insurance Companies Use Unlawful Policy Provisions to Burn Homeowners on Wildfire Claims: Report

Los Angeles, CA -- A Consumer Watchdog examination of public filings reveals that insurance companies have inserted provisions into the fine print of their home, condo and renters’ insurance policies that allow them to limit or deny coverage after a wildfire in violation of California law.

KCBS TV-2 Los Angeles, CA: Castaic Condo Owners See Nearly 900% Spike In Fire insurance Premiums

State Farm Doesn’t Have To Refund $100 Million To Homeowners, State Supreme Court Rules

By Bob Egelko, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

February 9, 2022

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/State-Farm-doesn-t-have-to-…

State Farm Insurance will not have to refund $100 million to homeowners after the state Supreme Court denied appeals Wednesday by California's insurance commissioner and a consumer organization, which both contended the customers had been overcharged.

Newly Public Documents Allege Allstate Overcharged Loyal California Customers $1 Billion

By Aaron Sankin, THE MARKUP

February 1, 2022

https://themarkup.org/allstates-algorithm/2022/02/01/newly-public-docum…

A pair of newly public documents filed with a California administrative law judge show experts accusing the company of systematically overcharging customers it believed to be the most loyal around $1 billion over the past decade. 

Proposed Regulation to Require Discounts for Wildfire Mitigation Measures Must Also Regulate Scores Secretly Used to Deny Home Insurance, Consumer Groups Urge Insurance Commissioner

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer groups said a regulation proposed by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to require discounts for homeowners who take home-hardening steps to reduce their risk of damage from wildfires must also apply to insurance companies' decisions about which properties they will insure. California homeowners, businesses and communities face unfair price increases and non-renewals, and new wildfire mitigation rules must protect against both, said the groups today at a public hearing convened by the Department of Insurance.
 

California Moves to Curb Discriminatory Auto Insurance Pricing Using Job and Education Level That Charges Lower-Income, Non-White Drivers More

Sacramento, CA – Insurance companies’ illegal use of job and education level to price auto insurance discriminates against lower income drivers and communities of color and must end, Consumer Watchdog will testify at a California Department of Insurance workshop this afternoon.

Supreme Court Confirms Right to Sue Insurance Companies for Overcharges

Decision Rebuffs Industry Arguments Against Proposition 103 Enforcement Rights

Los Angeles, CA -- In a decision that will likely affect California motorists, homeowners, small businesses and even medical providers, the California Supreme Court has ruled that insurance companies are not immune from lawsuits by consumers who were overcharged for title insurance coverage as part of a home refinance or sale. 

California Moves to Curtail Job and Education-Based Auto Insurance Discrimination

Sacramento, CA -- Draft regulations released by the Department of Insurance Thursday move California one step closer to stopping auto insurance discrimination that has allowed insurers to overcharge lower income and minority drivers for decades, said Consumer Watchdog. The rules follow a petition submitted by Consumer Watchdog and ten civil rights and community groups to ban the use of job and education level in auto insurance rating.

Insurance Companies Created Home Insurance Crisis, Consumer Watchdog Testifies at Department of Insurance Wildfire Hearing

Los Angeles, CA -- The insurance industry is exploiting California wildfires for its own financial advantage by arbitrarily refusing to sell or renew homeowners’ insurance coverage, even when people improve the fire safety of their property, Consumer Watchdog testified today at a virtual hearing convened by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

State Insurance Commissioner, Advocacy Group Reverse Opposition To Wildfire Bill Following Amendments

By Jeff McDonald, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

August 21, 2020

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/story/2020-08-21/sta…

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Los Angeles advocacy group Consumer Watchdog issued separate statements Friday announcing they no longer opposed a wildfire-insurance bill.

Homeowners’ Insurance In Wildfire Areas: Industry, Consumer Groups Battle Over Rate Boost

By Kathleen Pender, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

August 8, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Homeowners-insura…

Nearing the end of their legislative session and the beginning of wildfire season, state lawmakers are pushing through an industry-backed homeowners' insurance bill despite fierce opposition from consumer groups and California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

KGO AM SF, CA: Debate On Homeowners' Insurance Bill AB 2167

By Michael Finney, KGO AM SF, CA

July 18, 2020

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment.

Host Michael Finney mediates a debate between Consumer Watchdog's Harvey Rosenfield and Rex Frazier of the Personal Insurance Federation of California about the details of bill AB 2167 to change the homeowners' insurance market in the state of California. 

Consumer Advocate Hits Out At Insurers' Senate Funding As Major Bill Looms

By Lyle Adriano, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

July 8, 2020

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/consumer-adv…

Consumer Watchdog has warned that members of the California State Senate have taken $2,353,000 in campaign contributions from both insurance companies and insurance industry trade associations in the last two election cycles.

Insurance Industry Gives CA Senators $2.35 Million To Win Right To Raise Homeowners' Rates

Sacramento, CA – Members of the California State Senate have taken $2,353,000 in campaign contributions from insurance companies and insurance industry trade associations in the last two election cycles, according to data reported to the California Secretary of State. Of that total, $1.1 million was given to the thirteen Senators who sit on the Insurance Committee that will soon vote on the insurance industry’s top priority in Sacramento this year.

Sneak Insurance Industry Power Play In Sacramento Threatens To Jack Up Home Insurance Rates In Violation of Voter-Enacted Insurance Rate Regulation

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog warned today that homeowners could pay billions more for their home insurance under a sneak insurance industry legislative attack on California’s effective rate regulation under the cover of the corona virus and police abuse crises.

Assembly Insurance Committee Approves Bills to Let Insurers Raise Homeowners' Rates By Skirting Price-Gouging Protections

Sacramento, CA –  The Assembly Insurance Committee voted today to allow insurance companies to raise rates on homeowners and renters in violation of voter-approved Proposition 103.  The bills would force unjustified insurance rate hikes onhomeowners in the very communities devastated by wildfires that they purport to help, said Consumer Watchdog.

Insurance Industry Pushes Legislation to Increase Homeowners Insurance Rates, Derail Public Protections Against Price Gouging, in Guise of Wildfire Response

Los Angeles, CA — While the rest of the state is sheltering at home, lobbyists for the insurance industry are busy promoting legislation, scheduled for a hearing tomorrow, that would allow them to boost insurance rates on homeowners and renters.

State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Should Stop All Auto Insurance Rate Increases During Pandemic, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to suspend all increases in auto insurance rates through September 1, or the termination of shelter-in-place restrictions, whichever comes later.

Read the letter to the Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Watchdog Says Car Insurance Companies Should Reduce Premiums

By Randy Mac, KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles, CA

April 7, 2020

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/watchdog-says-car-insurance-companie…

On Monday Allstate insurance announced it’s issuing partial refunds to its car insurance customers due to “stay at home” orders. But consumer advocates say the entire industry needs to step up.

The once clogged freeways in the LA region are mostly empty.

Commissioner Lara Should Reject Farmers’ Auto Insurance Rate Hikes and Stop Surcharges Aimed At COVID-19 First Responders and Emergency Workers, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject Farmers Insurance Group’s proposed 6.5–6.9% auto insurance rate increases and its 3-tiered rating system based on occupation under which first responders and essential workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 pay higher rates, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a letter to the Commissioner today. Farmers’ request comes as a deadly pandemic sweeps California, for which virtually every California business has been ordered to close and residents ordered to stay home.

Insurance Lobbyists Launch Propaganda Campaign to Protect Their Ability To Overcharge Poor & Minority Drivers

Sacramento, CA -- The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has launched a deceptive website, at www.protectourdiscounts.org, and advertising campaign to protect insurers’ ability to continue overcharging lower income and minority drivers for their auto insurance.

Proposed Rule Moves Department of Insurance Closer to Banning Illegal Price Discrimination Against Low-Income Drivers and Communities of Color

In comments submitted on proposed regulations Consumer Watchdog said rule could ban discrimination based on drivers’ occupation and education level; called for key amendments to ensure discrimination based on race and socioeconomic status ends.

Data Shows Insurance Companies Use Occupation and Education to Segregate and Overcharge Communities of Color And Blue-Collar California Drivers

Los Angeles, CA -- An analysis of new data obtained from insurance companies by the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) confirms complaints by Consumer Watchdog and other citizen groups that insurance companies are surcharging motorists based on their occupation or educational status, in violation of insurance reform Proposition 103.

CA Supreme Court Upholds $27 Million Fine Against Mercury Insurance For Overcharging Customers

Farmers Insurance Is Caught Overcharging Its Most Loyal Customers in Violation of Proposition 103

Los Angeles, CA -- Farmers Insurance systematically overcharged its most loyal, longtime California customers from 2008 to 2018, according to evidence uncovered as part of an investigation ordered by the California Insurance Commissioner. Now, with a public hearing scheduled for June and facing millions of dollars in civil damages and penalties, Farmers and its affiliate, Mid-Century Insurance, are urging a Los Angeles Superior Court to stop the agency’s investigation.

Appellate Court Holds Mercury Insurance Accountable for Phony Premium Overcharges

Los Angeles, CA -- A state Court of Appeal in Orange County has upheld $27 million in civil penalties imposed by former Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones against Mercury Insurance Company for falsely claiming premium overcharges its agents tacked on top of its approved rates were “broker fees.”

​​​​​​​Community Groups Petition California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara To Ban Use of Occupation and Education to Price Auto Insurance 

Los Angeles, CA – Community organizations representing consumers, low-income workers and communities of color petitioned Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today to ban the use of occupation and education to set auto insurance premiums. Many California auto insurance companies charge lower-income and less-educated drivers up to 15% more in order to give discounts to doctors, lawyers, other well-paying professions, and drivers with college degrees. The surcharge is illegal under California’s insurance reform law, Proposition 103.

Consumer Federation of America says California auto insurance protections are a model for the nation

The nonprofit Consumer Federation of America released a study this week finding that California’s tough “prior approval” regulation of auto insurance rates under Proposition 103 is a model for the nation. Nearly 30 years of insurance industry data show that California has maintained the slowest pace of premium growth of any state and built the second most competitive auto insurance market in the nation.

Consumers Win Prop 103 Transparency Battle With State Farm Insurance

A California court has rejected a request by State Farm, the nation’s largest insurance company, to conceal the financial arrangements between its $168 billion parent company, based in Bloomington, Indiana, and its California subsidiary, which sells homeowners insurance and claims it’s in financial trouble. 

Consumer Watchdog Applauds New California Rules Ending Gender-Based Discrimination in Auto Insurance Pricing

Los Angeles, CA – California auto insurers may no longer charge drivers more based on their gender under new rules just issued by the California Department of Insurance.

The rules bring auto insurance prices into line with the provisions of voter-approved Proposition 103 that prohibit unfair and discriminatory pricing and require rates to be based primarily on a person’s driving record and experience, not personal characteristics.

2018 Wins, 2019 Resolutions

Given the divide in America, it’s truly been remarkable how much we have accomplished together in 2018. Below's just some of what we accomplished in 2018, and you can also watch this short highlights video about our victories.

The nation’s toughest online privacy law:  A new California law requires that companies tell you what information they collect about you, give you the right to say no, and are legally accountable for data breaches.

​​​​​​​US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Mercury Insurance Challenge to Prop 103 Insurance Rules that Saved California Motorists Over $100 Billion

SANTA MONICA, CA - The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a challenge brought by Mercury Insurance, State Farm and other insurance companies across the United States to insurance reform Proposition 103. That California law has saved motorists over $100 billion since 1988 by regulating insurance companies to limit price gouging, profiteering, inflated executive salaries and other unjustified expenses. (Mercury Casualty Company v.

Consumer Watchdog’s Prop 103 Challenges Bring $227 Million in Insurance Rate Savings

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog’s challenges filed under Proposition 103 to proposed auto, home and business insurance rate increases saved consumers $227.4 million in 2017, the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group said today.

Since 2003, the group’s challenges in rate proceedings before the Department of Insurance have saved consumers a total of $3.4 billion. Savings have averaged a little more than a quarter of a billion dollars – $227 million – per year.

California Dept. of Insurance Says It Has Stopped Overcharges Exposed by ProPublica

Santa Monica, CA -- Acting in response to an investigative report by journalists at ProPublica, the California Department of Insurance has ordered two insurance companies – Nationwide and USAA – to not charge motorists in minority neighborhoods more than motorists with similar risk profiles who live in predominantly white neighborhoods. California voters banned zip code-based insurance pricing when they passed Proposition 103 to prevent auto insurers from discriminating against minority drivers.

Consumer Watchdog Petitions Commissioner to Stop Travelers from Overcharging Small Business Owners

Santa Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog has filed a petition challenging the insurance rates that two companies in the Travelers Group want to charge small businesses. The consumer group is seeking a 20% cut to the rates Travelers currently charges, which would deliver about $20 million in savings to policyholders.

Travelers’ rate proposal would affect nearly 16,000 businesses in the companies’ Master Pac program that provides liability and property coverage for small businesses such as barber shops, pet sitters, employment agencies, speech therapists, and car washes.