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NEWS RELEASE
Nov 06, 2002


CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-392-0522 x309

Group Lays Out Consumer Protection Challenges For Insurance Commissioner Garamendi's First Year

Santa Monica, CA -- The nonprofit Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today that newly elected California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi must be a bold leader for California consumers, and one who does not shy away from taking on the insurance industry.

"The People of California want an aggressive Insurance Commissioner who will protect consumers and make up for the failings of Chuck Quackenbush. We look forward to working with Commissioner Garamendi and we hope that he will meet the challenge," said FTCR's senior consumer advocate Doug Heller.

Top Ten Issues for Insurance Commissioner Garamendi

FTCR identified the following issues as the most pressing challenges for the coming year:
  1. Protecting consumers from massive and unfair insurance rate hikes and implementing "prior approval" rules to govern insurance company rate increase requests.
  2. Stopping insurers from canceling policies on homeowners simply for filing a claim.
  3. Writing regulations to enforce Prop 103 rules that require auto insurance premiums to be based on a driver's record and not on where they live.
  4. Taking the lead in coordinating consolidated regulation of California's health insurance system to improve access to quality care and a more efficient use of resources
  5. Reducing the number of uninsured motorists on the road by increasing the number of drivers who participate in the low-cost auto insurance program.
  6. Punishing insurers that do not pay claims in a fair and timely manner.
  7. Re-opening the investigations into insurance company behavior after the Northridge quake that ex-Commissioner Quackenbush quashed and properly punishing insurers that cheated policyholders.
  8. Stopping the use of "credit-scoring" in insurance underwriting and rating.
  9. Reducing doctors' medical malpractice insurance rates while also working to expand malpractice victims' access to a reasonable recovery of damages.
  10. Improving the California Earthquake Authority to provide better coverage for homeowners.
"There are a number of serious insurance issues that Californians face and John Garamendi has been called to fight for the consumer on each and every one of them," said Heller.


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