Monthly Archives: February 2013

ConsumerWatchdog Again Sole Recipient of State Insurance Fees, Pocketing Nearly $780K in 2012

For the fifth straight year, the group that wrote a state ballot initiative to regulate auto insurance rates has been the sole beneficiary of a provision that awards fees to outside interests who intervene in rate cases, according to new statistics issued by the California Department of Insurance.

In 2012, Santa Monica-basedConsumerWatchdog raked in nearly $780,000 in “intervenor fees” by protesting insurance company rate adjustments. Since the program’s inception, the special interest group founded by lawyer Harvey Rosenfeld, has reaped nearly 80 percent of the fees in the program, collecting approximately $10 million in fees. ConsumerWatchdog pays nearly $450,000 in “consulting fees” annually, according to the group’s documents filed with the
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Rural fire fee faces new challenge

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers this year will once again square-off over how to pay for fighting wildfires and preventing outbreaks in the first place.

The Legislature will begin to take up a number of measures aimed at repealing or at least narrowing a $150 annual fire prevention fee just as the state starts sending out the second round of bills to property owners later in March.


The fee covers rural regions that are defended by Cal Fire, affecting about 750,000 properties statewide and 73,000 in San Diego County.

In Sacramento, there is a growing belief that an alternative to the fire fee will emerge.
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Buying a Gun? States Consider Insurance Rule

Both sides in a nation sharply divided over guns seem to agree on at least one thing: a bigger role for the insurance industry in a heavily armed society. But just what that role should be, and whether insurers will choose to accept it, are much in dispute.

Lawmakers in at least half a dozen states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, have proposed legislation this year that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance — much as car owners are required to buy auto insurance. Doing so would give a financial incentive for safe behavior, they hope, as people
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If a Meteorite Hits Your Home, Are You Insured?

It’s been an odd day for Earth and celestial objects. A 10-ton meteorite exploded near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring hundreds and causing widespread panic. Meanwhile, a 143,000-ton asteroid passed just 17,000 miles away from Earth around 2:30 Eastern today, a little too close for comfort. All this talk of dangerous rocks falling from the sky — as NASA scientist Don Yeomans recently told my TIME colleague Jeffrey Kluger, a basketball size object hits the earth’s atmosphere every day — may have you wondering how a meteor shower or asteroid collision could theoretically affect your family or property.

If a meteorite crashes through your roof, the damage to your
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Despite rate increases, flood insurance is worth the cost

Homeowners will see increases in the rates they pay for flood insurance soon, if they haven’t already, with owners of vacation homes seeing the biggest jump. But that isn’t reason enough to drop coverage. Flood insurance is one of the best deals going.

Though floods can bring walls of water 20 feet high, even a few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Between 2007 and 2011, the average flood claim fielded by the National Flood Insurance Program was nearly $30,000. The cost of the typical flood policy is about $625 a year.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your homeowner’s policy has you covered, or that a
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How Independent Agents Can Use ‘Being Local’ to Their Advantage

As an independent agent, you possess many advantages over the national P/C marketers that operate mainly online and over the phone. One strong point, among many, is that you operate out of a local office. Don’t look at this as expensive overhead; instead, use your physical presence to differentiate your operation.

Here are several tactics and reminders to consider.

In-Office Events

Invite insureds and prospects in for a series of free agency-hosted events. These might include a simple meet and greet office tour, a jewelry appraisal day (with a hired professional), or a lively insurance education seminar for new teenage drivers. You can even host a policy organization session where attendees bring in
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