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Oct 07, 1998

Quackenbush's New Regulations to Raise Rates for Over One Million Drivers, Industry Says

While Commissioner Claims He's Only Going After Drunk Drivers, Even Insurance Industry Lobbyists Admit Sober Drivers Are Real Target
New regulations issued by state Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush will increase auto insurance rates for over one million Californians, according to insurance industry lobbyists.

The regulations, which were given final approval this week by the Office of Administrative Law, make it easier for automobile insurers to cancel or not renew policies for even minor traffic violations. These regulations were proposed by State Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush who has tried to downplay the impact of the new regulations, saying the real targets of the regulations are drunk drivers. However, the Project warns that the majority of motorists affected will be sober drivers with a fender-bender and a minor ticket or two.

"Even the insurance industry admits that drunk-drivers are not the real target of these regulations," said Lillian Salinger, Staff Attorney for the Proposition 103 Enforcement Project.

Leading insurance industry lobbyists, including Dan Dunmoyer of the Personal Insurance Federation of California, have told reporters this week that 8-10% of California drivers will see higher rates as a result of Quackenbush's regulations. With approximately 14-16 million insured motorists in California, these regulations will affect over one million drivers.

"It is impossible for Commissioner Quackenbush to defend the rationale that drunk-drivers are the target of these regulations," said Salinger. "There simply are not enough drunks on the road to account for the number of motorists that will be affected by these regulations -- by the insurance industry's own estimates."

The Project warns that it is sober drivers with a minor mishap or a couple of tickets that insurance companies want to push into higher-priced affiliates or into the California Assigned Risk Plan, with its higher rates and profits for insurers.

"Insurance companies could have already dropped drunk-drivers even before these new regulations," said Salinger. "And, they could have already raised rates for sober non-good drivers, as well, if those drivers got a ticket or caused an accident."

"Quackenbush has given insurers a gold mine with these regulations and that's why he's desperately seeking cover with the drunk-driver angle," concluded Salinger.


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