California Small Businesses May See Some Insurance Savings

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California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has approved rate reductions for a number of State Farm commercial policies that he says will bring millions of dollars in premium savings for tens of thousands of small businesses, farm owners, apartment owners, and condo associations across the state.

"These State Farm commercial rate reductions are a big win for California's small businesses and farm owners," says Mr. Jones. "The Department of Insurance reviewed the rate filings and we determined that in many cases rates should be lowered, resulting in total premium savings of $17 million."

Voter approved Proposition 103 requires insurers to justify their rates and allow for consumer advocates to intervene in rate filings they believe are excessive. In this case, Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica intervened in three of six State Farm commercial rate filings on behalf of policyholders.

The department's independent actuaries reviewed the rate filings and the data State Farm submitted to justify their rates and found that several of the company's requested rate increases should actually be reductions.

The company lowered their rates on those insurance products where the department found the data supported a reduction.

In an unrelated but similar case, Commerce West had submitted rate filings requesting double-digit rate increases for three of its personal private auto programs. When the department requested additional supporting data from the company and Consumer Watchdog petitioned the filing, the company elected to withdraw its rate filings.

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