01/08/07

National consumer organizations joined the Consumer Federation of America today in Washington D.C. to release a new study concluding that the property/casualty insurance industry (which includes the nation's home and auto insurers) has dramatically increased profits and surplus in recent years, in part by systematically overcharging for insurance and shifting costs to consumers and taxpayers.

Bob Hunter is director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, and author of the new report (roll tape#1 o.q.”now we’re only getting back 60 cents”)

 

The report from the CFA coincides with the Florida Legislature preparing to go into a special session next week to deal with the Insurance Crises in Florida, where more and more homeowners are either being dropped by their insurance companies, or having to contend with astronomical rate increases. 

 

Study author Bob Hunter says people who don't think they're getting a fair deal from insurance companies should urge their state insurance departments to be more aggressive in going after companies charging high rates (roll tape#2 o.q.”lower it 20 percent”)

 

New Florida Governor Charlie Crist said in his Inauguration speech last week it was time to "rein in overreaching insurance companies" , and he later reiterated a pledge to use the special session to try to reduce rates.

Last week Allstate Insurance in Florida announced that it would drop 106,000 home and condo customers statewide.   

Back in December, State Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty gave the insurance company statewide increases averaging 8.2 percent, far less than the 22 and a half percent average increase originally sought.  Consumer Federation of America analyst Bob Hunter says the company has been dropping policies all across the country (roll tape#3 o.q.”very sharply”)But the insurance industry is taking the criticism lying down.   Julie Rochman is a spokeswoman for the American Insurance Association.  She says that minimal hurricane expenses last year offset huge amounts paid for claims in previous years (roll tape#4 o.q.”in those areas”)To read the new report from Consumer Federation of America, you can go to their website…that’s consumerfed.org  

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