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NEWS RELEASE
May 11, 2000


CONTACT: Pam Pressley - 310-392-0522 x307

Quake Victims Call for Independent Insurance Watchdog Association In Response to Quackenbush Scandal

Northridge Quake victims appearing before a Senate Committee in Northridge last night to voice their complaints about insurers' and Quackenbush's mishandling of their insurance claims called upon the state legislature to establish an independent insurance policyholder association by enacting SB 1738 (Hayden). This bill would set up a non-profit, membership organization that would allow policyholders to pool their resources to hire their own experts and advocates to advance their interests before the Department of Insurance, the legislature and the courts.

"The Department of Insurance under Chuck Quackenbush, contrary to his own staff's recommendations, has repeatedly put the interests of the big insurance companies before policyholders who have been wronged," stated George Kehrer, Executive Director of Communtiy Assisting Recovery (CARe), a non-profit disaster recovery education group. "SB 1738 will give policyholders a means to counter the industry and hold the Department of Insurance accountable to their needs."

"Policyholders recognize that the system has failed them and that only by banding together to form their own advocacy organization like that proposed by SB 1738 will their voices be heard," stated Pamela Pressley, FTCR staff attorney and bill drafter.

Following the highly-effective advocacy methods of Nader-conceived Citizen Utility Boards (CUBs) currently in existence in Illinois, Oregon, Wisconsin, and San Diego, California, the Insurance Policyholder Association will, under the direction of a democratically-elected board and through membership donations rather than tax dollars, conduct research and provide information to the public concerning the quality and cost of insurance services provided by insurers, advise and watchdog state agencies in their promulgation of any standards and regulations related to insurance, advocate legislation or other proposals to protect and promote the interests of insurance policyholders, and represent and promote the interests of insurance policyholders before administrative and judicial bodies by initiating, intervening or participating in proceedings related to insurance, among others actions.

SB 1738 has cleared the Senate Insurance Committee and is scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations on Monday, May 15.


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For fact sheets on the Insurance Policyholder Association, visit the Insurance section of FTCR's website at : http://www.consumerwatchdog.org. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the interests of consumers and taxpayers.

Community Assisting Recovery (CARe) is a non-profit disaster recovery education group that continues to hold meetings with Northridge earthquake victims to address their quake-related insurance problems.



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