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home / insurance / in the media

Journal of Commerce
Feb 19, 1999

by Ron Lent

Three Insurers Agree to Issue California Refunds

Of the three companies, Fireman's Fund, Novato, Calif., agreed to issue the largest refund to customers, $76.25 million. Surety bond specialist Insco/Dico Group, of Irvine, Calif. was next at $1.6 million. Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company, Lansing, Mich., added $404,803 to its refunds, bringing its total to $1.3 million.

In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 103 that among other things mandated commercial and personal lines insurance companies to roll back rates 20 percent.

To meet its obligations, Fireman's Fund won't seek reimbursement from agents on commissions paid to them.

Not everybody was happy with the latest Proposition 103 settlement agreements. Proposition 103 Enforcement Project Litigation Director Gina Calabrese voiced dissatisfaction with the Michigan Millers Mutual outcome.

""We are disappointed that the Department forgave three years of interest on a portion of the rate rollback related to agent commission premium taxes. That's about $75,000 worth of interest that policyholders are losing,'' she said.

The latest insurer rebates bump up the Proposition 103 refund total to $102 billion. California has some 250 companies writing insurance, but only a handful of companies have yet to settle their Proposition 103 liability.

Topping the list of Proposition insurance company holdouts is State Farm of Bloomington, Ill., the nation's largest private passenger automobile and homeowner insurer. Rounding out the list are Allied Group, Des Moines, Iowa; Ohio Casualty Group, Hamilton, Ohio; Sierra Pacific Group, Napa, Calif.; Western General Insurance Group, Encino, Calif.; Fremont Indemnity Company, Glendale, Calif.; and Century-National Insurance Company, North Hollywood, Calif.

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